|Still from A Beautiful Mind|
Technology can certainly help in a plethora of ways. One of the ways is that there are less physical materials to get lost in the shuffle from point A --> B. One thing I firmly believe is that technology can help you manage your stuff if you develop systems. Something I told my students when I was in the classroom and tell my teachers now is, "Everything in life is a pay me now, pay me later situation." There's a lot of meaning behind this saying to me, in this case I mean, you can develop a system for delivery of materials through technology which will take upfront work on your part to create (I can offer assistance of course) or you can continue to use your current system of running to the Xerox machine X times a week and pay in an incremental basis.
|.gif from Office Space|
model and get a new lease, i.e. paying for a car for the rest of your life, as well as abiding by the dealer's rules for that lease typically limiting your use. Whereas when you purchase a car, you may need to save upfront to put the money down on the car, but once you pay at the dealer that car is yours to use stipulation free for as long as you desire. I don't know if this is the perfect analogy but I and teachers I've shared it with find it to be a pretty good one. I enjoy my freedom and I don't like being holden to anything!
That being said, just like a teacher needs to prepare and check their physical materials, it's a best practice to do the same with your virtual materials. Make sure the site that you are using is up, make sure the webmaster hasn't changed the site overnight without your know, make sure student log-ins are working correctly. I'm not suggesting that teachers need to check every detail every day, because I know that there is not time for that in a teacher's world. But just like the "Pay me now, pay me later" states you can check before class time or be surprised during class when something doesn't go the way you wanted it to and try to adapt on the fly. Again I understand things can go wrong between the time a teacher check in the morning and the time a teacher uses the tool mid-morning, I understand that teachers need things to work because they don't have time to monitor X, Y, and Z all the time. We are talking about prep best practices and time displacement in this post. Is it better to beholden to a Xerox machine on a daily or weekly basis OR to have your materials at your fingertips whenever you want and make changes with a few moves of your fingers?
To get to this desired location and make EdTech part of our culture, we must pay now in the form of time. Easier said than done with all the things a teacher has to do. Right? Right! In a future post, I will talk about the way that I am trying to help teachers pay now, instead of pay later and forever.
Until then, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you #edtech on! ~ Ryan