By Kim Miklusak
This has been a year of uncharted territory for many of us. Although I had worked with iPads and technology prior to this year, it was my first year teaching in a full 1:1 classroom. I have to say I was nervous--especially working with people who had been in iPad pilot programs for a few years. I was nervous that people would ask me questions that I may not immediately know the answer to. I was nervous that I would try things out in my classroom and they wouldn't work. I was nervous that I would take time to make something only to find a better way to do it later.
And you know what? All of those things happened. But because of the general support structure at EGHS--and throughout the district as a whole--as well as the specific support structure of the CollabLab and my peers, I was able to learn and grow alongside those I was helping--and alongside my students! I appreciate the willingness to share in our school, and I appreciate the instructional conversations we can have in our departments and across departments. I've learned as much from teachers in other subjects as I have from teachers in my own! Additionally I've learned so much from connecting with people on Twitter and at EdCamps.
I know the shift in instructional technology is a big one, and we are all in different places with it. The mindset at our school is so important: move at a pace that is comfortable for you. For some that means considering the SAMR model and working first with substitution as we digitize curricula. For some that means trying out one thing such as doing entrance or exit slips on the iPad each day. For others that could be doing one project on the iPad. And still for others that means transforming as many pieces of the curriculum as possible.
The key is always, however, to realize that whatever we do for the first time, we may (we will!) find more effective and efficient ways to do it in the future--especially if we share our successes and missteps with others. As long as our instructional focus comes first and technology comes second, the technology will be there to enhance as oppose to diminish what we do in our classrooms for our students.