Microsoft HQ hosted 200 teachers from around the world who all share of love for teaching and a passion for technology. I met teachers from every corner of the globe and got to work closely with a group who spanned five different continents. I learnt so much. Not just about being innovative with technology in education but about myself too. I spent a lot of time on my journey home asking myself why I had been selected to participate.
I think I'm a fairly ordinary classroom teacher. More than anything I love working with kids and I’m possibly a little obsessive about making things easier with technology. I’m starting to think though that maybe what makes me a little different is a bit of extra bravery.
I don’t really consider myself brave in my everyday life, in fact some would say I probably don’t take enough risks in my personal or professional life. However, when it comes to technology I don’t mind being a bit brave. Giving things a go and exploring, seems to be easier to do when you are relatively anonymous in the world of educational technology. Nobody minds how long it takes you to learn something new; if you don’t get it the first time you can just read it again, or ask another question in another forum, or watch yet another video. There is no pressure to learn on someone else’s timeframe.
I love new learning and I like deciding for myself what I will learn next. Office 365 has been an area of significant learning over the past 12 months I have spent a lot of time reading, watching, researching, playing and creating as I learn about what Office 365 is and its role in supporting teaching and learning in our school. I have learnt lots of technical jargon about things like tenants and permissions and I’ve failed to grasp a lot too. The overall result though has been the successful deployment of Office 365 across our school, including an array of collaborative sites for our students.
This didn’t seem particularly special - surely if this ordinary teacher from our little corner of the world can do this, then anyone can right? I can’t code (yet!), I’m not especially technical and to be honest I don’t really want to be. I was anxious about sharing my learning with these ‘expert others’ at the global teachmeet. After all these teachers have done amazing things, with far less resources than we take for granted on a daily basis.
Despite my trepidation, the feedback I got from my peers at E2 was unexpectedly amazing. They commented on how obvious it was that learning extended beyond the walls of our classroom. And how easily our students can collaborate and share with each other and their teachers. I think the fact that an ordinary classroom teacher could achieve this, without a degree in programming, made it all the more appealing.
As a teacher, I can pretty much command attention of a crowd any time I want in my classroom but when it comes to sharing with a room full of adults I’m not a natural presenter. Once a conversation was started though, it was really easy to talk about the things that are important to me. Start chatting about kids, learning AND technology and the words just fall out. I had discovered a bit more of my brave! I looked up and found myself surrounded with teachers who genuinely wanted to hear more. Contact details were shared and the conversation continues.
So why me? - I'm sure it's because a bit of bravery goes a long way with technology.