50% of the Teachers Were Willing to Try

I underestimate people sometimes. For those who know me personally, this is no big surprise.

Today, a colleague and I taught (or attempted to teach) some of our peers how to use two (we believe) pretty simple technology apps. We kind of thought it would be easier than it turned out to be. Here’s what I learned:

1. Some teachers are not interested in learning–or even trying–to do anything with technology. It does not matter how much you testify to what has worked wonderfully well with your students. They do not care. They are not going to even pull out the cell phone and give it a try.

2. Some teachers are so impatient with their own devices that they will not even give you a chance to help them, or walk them through whatever application you want them to see. This frustration comes out as anger (and is often rude) against the person just trying to show them a tiny little thing.

3. Some teachers watch and listen, turn on, and try. They ask questions. They push buttons. They light up when they “get it.” They enjoy the experimenting and the experience of it all.

Quick quiz. Which of the three above do you think I want to work with every single day?

Self-evaluation. Which of the three above are you?

My friend JC Hamlin and I showed our peers Twitter and Vine today. We’ve both used Twitter with our students for awhile now; we both want to use Vine with our students this year.

Here’s a tidbit of our presentation:

Three Ways to Use Twitter in the classroom:

  • as communication within the walls of the class and beyond
  • as a backchannel (Shy students speak up when they can tweet their responses)
  • as a way to include the outer-circle in an inner-circle discussion

Why using Vine makes sense:

  • students love to make and share videos
  • most students have a Smart phone–or a classmate who has one
  • it’s fun

The assignment:  1. Create a Vine that introduces yourself to your students without showng your face. 2. Tweet it to us.

My Vine Introduction

50% of the teachers in the room successfully “played” with technology today. 50% of the teachers were willing to TRY.

I wonder how this translates into what the instruction looks like in their classrooms. Really, I wonder.

15 hours later:

Okay, so after thinking about this pretty much all day, I realized a few things:

1. I exaggerated. It wasn’t 50%. I’m amazed at how a few sure can feel like A LOT.

2. I must remember to be patient. At first I took a long time to learn tech things; I need to allow others time, too.

3. The experience, the emotions–positive and negative–are an fine parallel to what happens in class with my students.

So, the question I ask myself as I go into another year of teaching: What systems do I have in place, what communication skills, strategies, relationship-building tactics do I have in mind to deal with it. Better.

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2 thoughts on “50% of the Teachers Were Willing to Try

  1. amyrasmussen August 16, 2013 at 2:07 am Reply

    Kristen, so very true. I thought all along that was a topic for another blog post. Thanks for the comment!


  2. Kristen Brown August 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm Reply


    I always enjoy reading your posts. While your question aimed at teachers begs a well-thought out response, I think a better question to ask is that which applies to students. What are students willing to learn, AND how does your experience working with teachers in today’s PD remind you of the way in which we each learn.
    1. Some learners are resistant.
    2. Some learners are clueless.
    3. Some learners are enthusiastic and “get it” with very little effort.
    4. And still, some learners are preoccupied with “I’d rather be at the beach,” or “My mother has cancer,” or whatever thoughts pervade the human brain and override what task is at hand to be learned.

    In other words, a lot can be working in the minds of the learner at the time one is attempting to teach.

    Now, think about the learner (adult or child) and apply those learning styles to the way your instruction went today. I am not going to criticize you AT ALL for your teaching or methods of delivery. I’ve seen you in action and think you’re something great. However, I do know that some classes I’ve personally attended, both as a child and as an adult, were memorable; others were lackluster (and I’m being generous with that in lieu of typing an expletive).

    Bottom line: What might be plaguing the mind of the learner can and will affect his or her ability and willingness to take in new information, no matter the subject. Don’t take it personally. Some members of the class you and your colleague taught today were likely unfocused and otherwise difficult to reach. Truth is some teachers will likely look back at your PPT handout and try to log on or sign up when they’re not feeling intimidated by sitting side-by-side people they believe are more techno-savvy than they themselves are.


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