The thing about teaching is your day goes by at light speed governed by a clock. On some days making it to the bathroom and scarfing down your lunch are accomplishments. Then, if you're not too tired after school, you may get some other things planned or graded. Add in there, utilizing technology daily, by way of each student using an iPad and.....it was a new beginning.
The 2012-13 school year was my "first" year of teaching. Sure, I started way back in '96, but my first with 1:1 technology, my first being "pushed" by a principal, my first filled with more failures than I care to mention, my first filled with more learnings than I can count, and the first where I truly trusted my students.
I always believed in the power of student choice, giving them ownership, and including them in classroom decision-making. I thought I was doing a pretty good job....and then came the iPads.
I had to let go and jump and they were right there with me, complete with flexibility, encouragement, and hope. I had to let go of the feeling I had to be in charge of every little thing and those "shady" moments, when I felt like they were on the brink of erupting in a Lord of the Flies situation; it was okay. I was okay. The walls weren't going to come down, the wireless wasn't off forever, I wouldn't stop breathing, and a little mess has never hurt anyone.
The result: pure educational bliss! Students taking ownership of their learning and acquiring a level of leadership skills one usually cultivates after years of trying. These nine, ten, and eleven year olds were not just savvy with the technology, but savvy in their own abilities, advocating, manipulating and, at times, designing their own learning opportunities.
Where was I when all of this was going on? Scaffolding, focusing, engaging, and teaching the curricular content. Oh, and holding my breath.....watching history happen and our future generation fly.