That’s a phrase I often hear when I am talking to other teachers about technology in the classroom. As much as I want to help others, I can’t help but feel that many are intimidated by my knowledge. When I begin to share information or ideas, many of my teacher friends seem to automatically assume that they cannot do it, and that technology is only for those who have the “know-how’. I assure you, this is NOT the case! Everyone can, and most likely does, integrate technology in the classroom.
Today I was speaking with a friend, and urging him to attend a CUE RockStar event in the area that is coming up. I was telling him about the great presenters (of which I am one), opportunities, and benefits that will come with attending. His immediate response was, “Well if _______ (another presenter and mutual friend) is there, then it’ll be above my head.” I assured him that that would not be the case for my session (I cannot speak to other presentations). He said he’d check it out, but I am still worried at the perception we techie educators are giving off.
I know that none of us intentionally tries to intimidate others with our passion, but I fear that this is happening and is keeping those who feel less comfortable with technology at bay. What can we do to help newbies feel more comfortable? What can we do so that others see that the technology is within their scope? This same person expressed slight frustration when describing a time when he asked for help. He said that he felt that the person who was helping him BEGAN above his head. How many of us have done that? Without meaning to? Maybe we need to stop assuming what someone already knows, and begin at the beginning. I know it sounds silly or obvious, but I bet I have assumed someone knew more than they really did. And I most likely made them feel uncomfortable, for which I am sorry.
And as much as I understand about technology, there is a TON I don’t know or understand. I am a dolt when it comes to spreadsheets. There have been many instances where I felt way out of my league in some tech conversation. So rest assured, you are not the only one who has felt that something is beyond you. My advice? Ask questions, a lot of them! When you attend a conference or PD, find one thing that you can bring back to your classroom. Focus on one or two things. It is easy to become overwhelmed and feel lost, so by focusing on one or two key points, you will feel successful and will WANT to learn more. After all, that is the goal — amassing information.
And this I promise to you…I will not assume you know more than you do. If I do, PLEASE stop me and remind me of my promise. We’re all in this together.