I was thinking about a comment on a fantastic blog post by Sue Dunlop (@principaldunlop) during my Staff Meeting today. Sue was replying to some comments from other educators about mobile technology, and here’s what she said:
This really got me thinking, as I’m the person that will be texting (or in my case, tweeting) during a meeting, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not engaged.
I can’t just sit and listen. I’ll sit quietly, but I won’t absorb anything. If you ask me what I learned at the end of the meeting, I’ll say, “I don’t remember.” It can be the best presentation ever, but I guarantee that I won’t remember any of it — unless I write it down. A funny thing happens when I write things down: I remember them, even if I never look at them again.
Today was a PA Day in my Board, and we were in meetings all day long. I started off the day presenting to the staff, but then I sat down and watched a presentation on John Hattie and visible learning. This presentation largely included watching this great video where Hattie explains his beliefs and research.
I decided to do something that I don’t usually do during a Staff Meeting: I chose to tweet out what I was learning. It was incredible! I couldn’t keep up with all of Hattie’s wonderful quotes. Best of all though, when I was sharing them, I was also thinking about them, and I started to make connections. Now not only did my tweets help me remember what Hattie said, but they helped me make sense of what Hattie said.
Tonight at dinner, I was actually talking about Hattie’s beliefs, and I remembered almost all of the details, thanks to having the opportunity to not just listen, but to write and share what I heard. All teachers are different, and I know that tweeting lines from a video (or later tweeting information shared during a presentation by Em Del Sordo, our Organizational Leadership Principal of Student Success) would not work for everyone, but it helped me understand the information better.
Mobile technology allowed me to do what I did today. Yes, people often use mobile technology for personal reasons, and yes, it would have been easy for me to be off-task today, but what I shared was all very much on-task. Maybe as teachers, we need to continually show how these “personal tools” can also be used for learning, and then we have to ensure that we create a environment where students want to use these tools for academic purposes.
What do you think? How do you create this environment in your classroom? How do you use mobile technology as teachers? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!