Monday, October 18, 2010


The more I know, the more I realize I don't know.  The world of technology resources is vast and seemingly endless.  I see many people just overwhelmed by the technology available and it comes out as frustration and a feeling that it's hopeless to even try getting up to speed.

Steven Anderson wrote a nice blog post focused on beginning teachers and those that feel overwhelmed.  He rightly points out that teaching the first few years is vastly different than having a few years of experience under your belt.  Can you imagine walking into many of our schools just out of college with no experience and encountering many of these technology resources for the first time, particularly coming from a teaching program that fails to prepare you for this reality in schools?  And first year teachers are not the only ones overwhelmed.  Experienced teachers can have these exact same feelings in technology.

Some teachers give in and do nothing, resigning themselves to irrelevancy and hopelessness.  I see some tech savvy teachers and professional developers reinforce this by overwhelming teachers with what's available.  It is important to get outside our limited perspectives but those responsible for professional development also need to know their audience.  Sometimes less is more.  For many teachers, focusing on 2-3 things that can powerfully impact their classroom is sufficient for a year of growth.  The depth of use by the teacher can really help students learn and benefit the classroom instead of a surface glaze of many different "cool" tools.

We have to exercise the same discretion and information literacy that we need to be teaching our students.  We need to filter out what is most important in a digital world and determine how to leverage it for learning.  As technology leaders, we also have to help others find balance so teachers are not overwhelmed.  In the midst of our push to move people forward in their journey, we need to do so responsibly so we don't undermine ourselves with a lack of depth.

If you are an overwhelmed teacher, model the goal-setting you ask your students to do.  Don't give up!  Make some manageable strides forward and seek a true learning community that enlists the help of your students!

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