I’ve been teaching for 26 years – English, AVID, Yearbook, Reading, History and any sort of intervention class that gets thrown my way. I’ve been through whole language and back. I’ve survived NCLB. I’ve been trained in teaching the Gifted and Talented, the At-Risk and 21st-century students. And last weekend, I went to my first #gafesummit (Google Apps for Education Summit) in Coronado, California, and it was AWESOME!
I’m not a digital native, but a few years ago I volunteered to be our school’s Chromebook manager because I believe strongly in technology and finding as many tools as I can to engage and inspire students. I thought that if I was the one to be responsible for the Chromebooks, I would force myself to use them and learn implementation tricks – and I was right.
The two-day conference started with Keynote Speaker James Sanders talking about “What does learning sound like?” He’s the founder of Breakoutedu.com, a game based website that “encourage(s) teachers to play alongside their students to model a growth mindset, resilience, and to show that teachers don’t always have all the answers.” James decided to create tools to help teachers and kids realize “if we want difference we have to be okay with failure.” That’s something super hard for digital immigrant teachers to get used to. I loved his analogy of “poop v. unicorn moments” and the wonder about why don’t we share all our poop moments on social media? It has become so hard for teachers and parents to be OK with non-Pinterest worthy moments in the classroom, and he reminded me that failure merely signals that we’re trying.
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