Thursday, December 11, 2014

Choosing to Use Technology

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to visit our newest elementary school to check in with the librarian and observe a lesson.  She was working with 4th graders during this time and after students completed checking out books, she passed out laptops to do a review of Destiny Quest and introduce eBooks in Follett Shelf.

The lesson went well; students explored and learned to navigate as they read their eBook selection.  For some, this was a new experience! 

It was soon time to put everything away, but I happened to notice one boy lingering, admiring and stroking the laptop he was using.  I approached him and reminded him that it was time to go.  He looked up at me and said, "I love using computers!  They are so cool!" I quickly agreed with him and asked him if he had one at home. His response: "We don't have computers at my house. That's why I love using them at school."  

I didn't want to make too big a deal about the lack of access, but instead asked if he had other family members with computers.  He told me about an uncle with a computer so I encouraged the boy to share his eBook learning with his uncle and show off the great things available at their school library. He smiled and said "Okay" and was off to get in line with his class.

Now, you are probably wondering why I'm sharing this story.  I could go on to speak about the lack of access for many students in our schools.  This IS a reality for many students, but the real reason I share this story has more to do with the librarian that made this opportunity possible. Technology still has the ability to intimidate teachers especially when they have to use it with many students. Some teachers feel the need to wait to use technology until they are "comfortable".  Device management with younger students is another concern, yet our youngest students, the digital natives, are eager and excited to use technology and share their learning with everyone!

If this librarian felt this way, this young boy would have missed out on using a tech tool to access books.  For many of our students, school is the only place where opportunities to work with technology occurs.  

Our district is about to embark on adding more tech in our classrooms and the reality is that Librarians can be a key player in modeling successful implementation and authentic use.  We can't allow tech management fears or "waiting to be ready" to keep us from sharing learning experiences with our students and teachers. We may stumble and need support, but we need to remember to lean on each other or our students to help us through.  I guarantee the pay-off in engagement will be huge!

Reflecting on the possibilities,