It’s All About Taking Risks

A number of months ago when I presented with @zbpipe at the Brock Tech Showcase, we spoke about the fact that using technology in the classroom is all about taking risks. You need to be willing to try something new. While I have always believed in the use of technology in education, I never used as much technology in my classroom as I did this year. Until this year, technology in the classroom meant using the Notebook software on the computer, but now, technology in the classroom means using technology to open up the walls of my class and interact with other students and teachers from around the world. It means daily tweets, grade, classroom, and individual student blogs, small group and large group Skype calls, and so much more! It means reading about amazing educators that use a variety of tools in their classrooms — thank you Twitter for connecting me with so many of these phenomenal people — and figuring out how I can use these same tools with my Grade 1 students. My risk-taking is in trying out these social media tools with my students and realizing the potential of these incredible tools too.

Everybody is different though, and as a result, the risks that everyone takes will be different too. On Thursday, I asked one of the teachers that I work with if I could write about him in my blog, as he’s recently experienced a huge learning curve, and he’s shown me the value in trying something new and never being afraid to take a risk or two. A couple of weeks ago, this Grade 7 teacher got a SMART Board in his room. Mike LoSchiavo has been teaching for years, and up until he got this SMART Board, his blackboards and overhead projector screen were always full of hand-written notes. The day that he found out that he was getting a SMART Board though, everything changed. He came down to see me and asked when I could come up and help him connect the SMART Board. He asked me about creating documents on his home computer and transferring them to the school laptop. He went out and bought a USB stick so that he could bring documents back-and-forth between home and school. He learned how to use Learn360 to find current media to enrich his lessons. He even found out that there is a webcam on his laptop, and he asked me how to work it so that he can use it to record lessons too. Mike spent hours learning how to use a laptop — his first one for that matter — and each day, he takes a new risk, as he learns a new way to use technology in the classroom.

Mike’s favourite expression is, “Love this job!,” and he says it at school often, and in every possible way, he means it too. I also “love this job,” and I love it even more when I work and collaborate with incredible educators, both at my school and online, that are willing to take risks and learn something new to better education for all students. Thank you, Mike, for again reminding me just how valuable a great team can be: together we take risks, together we learn more, and together our students learn more too!

Please share one of your great risk-taking experiences too. I feel fortunate to be part of a community of risk-takers.


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