Jul
25
2013

Reflection: #buschat, #hallwaychat, & #barchat

Amazing conversations happen in the strangest places. As you can see from the title of the article I have had some great conversations with educators and students that have been very insightful and thought provoking. I wanted to share some of the great experiences I have had over the past several weeks.

This article was hanging out in the drafts that I forgot to post but it is still relevant.

#Buschat:

I was fortunate enough to go with our fifth grade to the challenger learning center a few weeks ago. One of the best parts of the entire trip was the dialog between the students, Mrs. Lacrosse (@llacrosse) and myself on the bus. During this time Leah and I started planning several initiatives in our district:

  • Building of PD resources
  • Sharing resources amongst buildings
  • Podcast planning
  • World peace :)

These seem like simple no brainer things but the sad thing is I have been wrapped up in so many things this year I NEEDED this conversation to jumpstart my passion. If it wasn’t for those 2 hours on a bus I fear I would have fallen deeper into a black hole. This conversation also helped me find a weakness I need to work on. To many times I find myself over obsessing with “fixing” everyone’s technology problems and working on break fix issues. I need to limit the time I spend on fixing and focus more energy on leading.

 

#hallwaychat

 

I would assume,  like my district the hallway is where some of the best collaboration happens. I was passing through one of my buildings last week and 2 educators were talking about iPads and a possible idea for a lesson. We talked for a solid 10 minutes all brainstorming together on what could work and discussed the best workflow that would work. This impromptu conversation helped this educator work out any reservations she had for the integration. I think we need to find more time for this collaboration in the workday. I wish I could work with each and every educator every day and bounce ideas off of them and work cohesively together but its not possible.

 

3 questions:

  1. How can we foster this?
  2. Is this something that is best fitted digitally or in person? (It seems to me that when I post resources on this blog for cybermonday etc the teachers do not find as much value compared to telling them face to face.)
  3. Where do your best conversations happen?

 

#barchat

Before we go on break a group of teachers go to the local hangout and celebrate the work they have done so far in the year. As most were talking about their personal lives and plans a group of us were “talking shop”. The conversation was amazing to say the least and it lasted for about 3 hours. I also got a call from one of the educators this morning saying that she still thinking about what we had talked about and it was by far one of the best conversations she has had regarding education.

I also feel like when it comes to teaching & integration you find teachers that are reserved and others that are over the top. I usually lean to the over the top side and which I attribute to changing with technology and integrating technology everywhere. Some educators are the polar opposite and they fight tooth and nail to not embrace technology. You also find educators in the middle where they understand technology is where we are headed but don’t necessarily agree with technology being the end all be all solution.

Last night I went head to head with a very traditional teacher who had MANY very good points as far as managing technology. It was fun to bounce ideas back and fourth and disseminate the fud (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)  that sometimes surrounds technology. I saw so many light bulbs come one during our conversations. It was awesome.

 

These are the 5 biggest points from the conversation:

1. Give students a stage

2. By reworking your lessons & incorporating technology you will:

  • Make your lessons more interesting
  • Make your lessons valuable for students
  • Make your life easier when it comes to grading

3. You cannot afford to NOT be on social media

4. You HAVE to find balance between f2f and f2s (Face to screen)

5. Conversations > Presentations

 

About the Author: TJ Houston

TJ Houston is the Director of Technology at Shelby City Schools and New London Local Schools for Epiphany Management. TJ leads professional development in all areas of technology and loves developing ways to make teachers, students, and staff's lives easier with the use of technology. TJ also loves photography and his portfolio can be found at http://www.tjshots.com. All of the views on this site are his own.

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About Me:

My name is TJ Houston.
I am the Director of Technology at Huron City Schools. I love integrating technology into the classroom and helping teachers find the way on the information super highway. Things I love: My family, My awesome Girlfriend, Technology, Education, and Photography.

I run PD sessions twice a week and run community training the first Saturday of the month. I love teaching people new things.

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