Live and Learn: The Key to Technology Integration

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By Lori Elliott, SDE Presenter

SDE Appleseeds: Live and LearnWe all have things that we like to avoid or side step if at all possible. I personally put off exercise, and always take the easiest option available when it comes time to sweat. I just don’t get the appeal of the boot camp-type fitness programs some love when there are so many other happy things to do like go shopping. I am a fair weather athlete also, so you aren’t going to see me out running in a foot of snow or taking Zumba in a room without air conditioning. I will admit it. I tend to exercise in the manner in which I am most comfortable. I walk on my treadmill while watching Kathie Lee and Hoda and still do Dancing with the Oldies in my basement.

Technology integration is a lot like my exercise attitude for many educators. We avoid it if we can and we use the tools that make us comfortable. I can completely and totally understand this based on my attitude toward exercise. It is true that we are so busy that we don’t really have time to investigate and navigate new resources. Some of us don’t even use technology in our everyday lives very much at all, so it seems silly to make time for it in the classroom. The problem with avoiding or not using technology in our personal lives is that we really won’t understand how to integrate it into classrooms, or even why we should. The more we use technology tools to communicate, complete tasks, pursue our passions, etc. in our personal lives; the more the integration of those same tools will make sense to us in our instruction because we are living them out in our real world experiences.

Even though I cling to my favorite lazy girl activities when it comes to exercising, I have been pushing myself to explore new fitness worlds. I’ve found YouTube videos of sensible routines I can do without killing myself. I’ve come to look forward to my stretching and slowing down during Yoga and I will even finally jump around and sweat with that crazy intensive workout DVD my daughter loves so much. I have found that the more I try new things and make them part of my daily routine, the more I actually enjoy them and see a purpose for them in my busy life.

I encourage you to do the same with your technology skills. Stretch your muscles by using social media resources like Twitter or EduClipper to find new ideas for you classroom. Create picture collages of your darling children and puppies using the Pic Stitch or Pic Collage app. Make your own slideshows and videos using Animoto or Photo Peach to celebrate meaningful life events. The more we use technology tools in our personal lives, the more we will see the benefits of technology in our classrooms. The more I try to exercise, the more I understand the importance it serves. We must live some things in order to learn. Technology is best learned when we live it!

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