Participate if you can’t orchestrate

Participate even if you could orchestrate. Participating in classroom activities means you are experiencing issues and trials along with your students. It means you’re experimenting with them and feeling the joy and pride with them when problems are overcome. Participate, participate, participate.

I don’t remember who said this because I’m not the best note-taker when I’m tired, and I didn’t know names at NWP, but someone at the National Writing Project conference did say that the way to bring more digital and more creative assignments into the classroom is for the teacher to come to the projects as a participant, as a learner and experimenter along with the students.

That’s such a Writing Project mentality, which is why it works for me.

In his book Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, Stuart Selber mentions that one of the biggest deterrents to digital literacies is teacher training. That’s true. It’s also true that one of the biggest reasons more teachers don’t do more to just work with what resources and what training they have is lack of confidence.

If you’re used to being the voice of authority in the room, it’s tough to let your ignorance show. But you’ve got to let go of that if you want to move forward. Accept that mistakes will happen, and just sit down with your students to figure out how to make technology work for you. They’ll teach you a lot, and in doing so, they’ll learn more than they would have if you’d done all the “educating.”

As I heard at the CFTTC conference last spring, we all have to “begin to begin” keeping up with the times. If there’s something you’ve seen another class do, and you wish your own students could accomplish the same, just go for it. Assign it whether you fully understand it or not. You’ve got the whole semester to figure it out with your students.

**Cross-posted to Writerly Haphazardry.

3 thoughts on “Participate if you can’t orchestrate

  1. Your point about teachers doing it first, evaluating and then reflecting on the possibilities is right on target but unfortunately (except for NWP, it seems), folks are not given time to play and explore. They are shown how to do something and then expected to jump in and do it, which only leaves much of our fellow colleagues in the dust.

  2. There is a big problem with the models for teacher training in technology, but even people who don’t have time to fully learn a technology first can play with it in the classroom with the students. They can all learn together what the possibilities for it are.

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