Time, Time, Time …

Not so long ago, as you’ll read from my other blog posts, I realised the potential for enhancing student learning through technology. Since then I’ve been busy gathering ideas from others in my PLN on ways to use technology. I’ve observed plenty of great things that happening in classroom by sitting back and watching/listening to my twitter feed. Now that’s all well and good but now I’ve hit a snag. Where do I get the time to integrate all these into my teaching? There’s so much to try but even just sorting through the different tools can take up an age of time and I guess I’m becoming frustrated that I don’t have the time to apply these tools to my teaching.

I get the feeling that the people who are doing it well are spending hours of time finding tools and then implementing them into their teaching. I don’t think I’m doing too badly at it, it’s just the potential for engaging with the students is so great and doing things that help them learn has to be a good thing right? But, where do I find the time to do this without upsetting my family and missing out on life?

On top of that, how do I encourage other members of my staff to try these new things when they already feel they’re strapped for time, and that learning new technologies is only going to burdern them more?And the thought of having to introduce it to their physical education lessons too adds even more time to the mix.

Is it that this is just something we have to do if we want to improve our teaching or, if this the future then should we be allowing more time for professional development and follow up?

I’m really interested in knowing what others who are bit further down the track have gone about it? What’s the process been in your school?

8 thoughts on “Time, Time, Time …

  1. Nice post Jay, and if you get a lot of comments I’d suggest you’re experiencing something that many people have, and may still be going through.
    Personally, I jumped in when interest in Web 2.0 was a wave gathering momentum. The amount of information available was mind boggling, and I knew people who dropped off because it was so overwhelming. Great leaders in my organisation (like @pipcleaves and @pryorcommitment on Twitter) told me to find the nuggets in the heap that would work for me in my situation, and use them well. Keeping that lid on the vast amount of information saved me from the burn out other people felt when facing the techno tsunami.
    Time is a victim of this process. I don’t think you can do any learning “time cheap”. Many staff felt that they needed to “know” about applications or hardware and it dawned on all of us that the steep learning curve would only get easier to climb with “time on task”. The early adopters had the advantage – they started early, and were able to place the use of technology in their teaching more organically, I believe.
    Good luck in your journey. The universe of tech learning can be huge, but like our ventures into space, small calculated steps start the journey.

  2. That’s good advice, Jonesy. I’ve been following a few of the DET ‘gurus’ on twitter. I haven’t been able to workout whether there are the same types of people out there in the private sector or not. Thankfully we have a great IT teacher/integrator that is great at helping sort through the slag heap to find the gems.
    In the mean time, I’ll be watching and listening to those of you who have been at it longer than I and try and learn the easier way – if that’s possible.

  3. Patience, patience, patience!

    I share your exact feelings and also agree with Jonesy, that we need to “find the nuggets in the heap that would work for me in my situation, and use them well.” The only problem is, that it takes a long time to discover and debunk these nuggets, let alone integrate them effectively.

    It also feels as though, if you don’t get on board straight away, then it is impossible to get back on top of the wave.

    But I reckon, patient, baby steps are the key. Over time, the repertoire will grow.

    I know I need to fight the Gen-Y impulse to have everything accomplished by lunchtime tomorrow.

  4. Very insightful post Jay. I think awareness of the issue is half the battle on this one. I had a great mentor early on who used to say ‘teaching is a marathon, not a sprint race’ and I think this fits nicely here too. I have always tried to take a long term view and and try small things I think will make a difference and build on these over time, technology based or not.

    I think there is a risk we can overdo trying to find new ‘tools’ to use in class at the expense of lots of other aspects of quality teaching. There are just so many cool tools and apps that it is easy to get caught up in it all and think we have to use them all!!

    I agree that as teachers we really do need more PD time in general and integrating technology does require extensive time to understand and implement effectively. In terms of trying to get staff on board – simple activities with a high chance of success to get them on board is crucial initially. If you can light the flame for them with something simple then you may just get them started on their own digital journey also.

    Look forward to reading about your future endeavors!!

  5. I think you’re right, Brad. I have to keep telling myself it’s a marathon and not a sprint, but it’s hard when you catch the bug to slow yourself down when you can see the potential. I’ve been feeling like a first year out teacher again with the amount of time I’ve been spending working out how to implement new things and if i don’t pace myself I think it could be easy to just drop the bundle and do what’s easy.

    At the very least the PD we do, needs to have sufficient follow up and even time after to keep learning how to use it so that we don’t forget what we’ve learned – a bit like the students I guess!

  6. I remember when I was prac teaching, one of the teachers there told me the he believed there were two different types of lessons.

    First were the big budget lessons, where you used all of the tools in the arsenal (a whole heap less than there are now) and created a really high quality engaging lesson.

    Then, there were your low budget lessons. Where you fell back onto the tried and tested. Doing what you’ve been doing for years because you know it, it (mostly) works, and it is easy – the hard work has already been done.

    The point was – that he suggested to be working on one high budget lesson (or series of lessons) at a time. Implement something new over this topic with class x, then once that’s done, try something new with class y. Over time, you’ve then built up your arsenal of high budget lessons, without blowing the whole budget at once.

    I think we can apply this just as well to ICT integration. There’s so much out there, and it is awesome to be excited. But, as you and I both know, it is time consuming, and is particularly difficult to find the time to implement these things with young families.

    One thing at a time, taking baby steps, but doing it properly.

  7. I totally agree with you Dave, High budget lessons are excellent, you learn the students learn and it is incredibly rewarding when you challenge yourself to try something new. But you kill yourself in the preparation and development of the new technolgy. I’m ibcredibly new to all this blogging malarky and whilst I’m enjoying the process- it does feel rather overwhelming.

    1. Hi Sammi, thanks for your comment. It’s great to have a place to be able to discuss things like this. I’ve not been at it for long but I caught the bug and have run with it. I’ve found over the last 12 months that it still takes a lot of time but I’ve started working out what things work and what things haven’t and how to make it work better. I’ve also learned a lot being on twitter, which has meant the ideas haven’t always had to be new but I could pick people’s brains. That’s made a huge difference. If you have, or start a blog, it would be great to share it. I’d love to hear, see and learn from what you’re doing too. Jay

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