There is NO RIGHT Answer ...

There is NO RIGHT Answer ...

My teaching career has focused around "EdTech" before the term was even used.  When I was working on my Masters well over a decade ago the focus was a specialist in "Classroom Technology" since Edtech wasn't even a term we used yet.  Today if you did a search in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary you will not find the definition for Edtech, but it is a term we widely use today.  In 2013 EdTechReview added to their online dictionary "What is Edtech?"

EdTech stands for Education Technology. 
EdTech is a study and ethical practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. 
In other words, use of technology in form of products/apps/tools to enhance learning, pedagogy and instruction. It is not replacing any current practices, but it is the use of those tools to aid in the delivery of education.
                                                                                        ~ EdTechReview

I tell my students that there is NO Right answer when it comes to learning how to use a tech tool. You need to find the way to use the technology or tool that best works for you. Technology is always changing and evolving.  Which is the reason I love to teach using tech.  It challenges me and keeps me learning.  To think about how much technology and its' uses have changed is amazing.  To know that we've sent men to the moon on less technology knowledge decades ago and our smartwatches, cell phones, and tablets have more processing power now just blows my mind.

To think back to when my parents were in school and to know that they job I teach wasn't even a thought or blip in the world of education.  The world we are preparing on students will not be the same world we know right now.  So how can we teach our students to be prepared for their future if we have no idea what will be in their future?

Did you know that there are ten or more ways to copy something using technology depending on the device, app/software you are using?  Do you know all of the ten or more ways?  How many ways could you copy in 1970, 1950, 1930, 1900, or earlier?  My point is that the world is ever changing including how we learn.

We need to teach our students to think of all of the possible ways to get the solution you desire.  For example how many equations can you write were the answer equals 4?  How many ways can you use the word SUN or JUMP?  We need to teach critical thinking and ways to apply tools not necessary ways to use them.  How I would use a tool is not necessary the way you would.

I like to let my students explore what works for them.  You would not believe how many times I hear but your the teacher tell me if this is the right answer.  My response normally is "You tell me".  Did you get the desire outcome?  Will your solution solve the problem if not what can you change?  When I tell them that there is no right answer, they get frustrated with me.  For so long they've been conditioned that there is a right and wrong way or right and wrong answer.  There are a million possible ways to write equations were the answer is 4 like there are a million ways to use technology tools in education.

There is NO RIGHT Answer just what works best for you.

We learn best by exploring and discovery. Allow time for yourself and your students to discover what works best for them. Companies like Google believe in this and allow 20% time. 20% time empowers employees to be more creative and innovative.  So doesn't education give students time to explore, create, and innovate?  Why do we focus on memorization and drill and kill strategies.  Why not let them explore and discover.  When we learned to walk our parents didn't sit us down and talked about the science of walking and drilled us the facts.  No we discovered hey if I stand here and then move my leg I move.  We tried things and if we didn't get to our desire location we tried something else until we achieved what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.  There is no one way in learning to walk, we discovered what works best for us.  Some of us even became innovators during this process and found ways to get where we wanted to go fast or create short cuts.  We are wired to think like this but some where in the learning process we lost it.

So how many ways you can you think of to copy something?

Reflection of 2016 and the Start of 2017....

Reflection of 2016 and the Start of 2017....

2016 was a year certain a year of change.  My oldest son graduated from high school and then turned around and went off to college.  My youngest son finally had a bedroom all to himself and had to step it up a little in helping out with the house and watching his little sister.  Both boys started working part time and shopping for their own clothes.  Which has been nice and funny at them same time, they have ordered the same items off of Amazon, in the same sizes.  Our lives are suppose to change it is just the circle of life.  I shared with my sons that their are four stages of Santa Claus.  They just laughed at me, but think about it.  At a young age believe in Santa. Then as we get older we stop believing.  When we be come parents we become Santa.  The last stage takes the longest to achieve but when we become grandparents we start to look like Mrs. Claus or Santa himself.  Thus there are four stages of Santa.  For the past 18 years I've been in stage three. Some day I will make it to stage 4, but it will be Eric that will look like Santa.  My point is that life changes, it would dull if everything stays the same.

In 2016 I've made some great friends and attended some pretty inspiring conferences.  I even wrote and published a book.  I get a kick out of being able to say "Hey I wrote the book on That!".  A group of ladies made my day when they stop me to ask if I was the Diary of a Techie and wanted to take a selfie with me.  I kind of felt like a mini celebrity for a moment.  When I attend edCamps or conferences I like to participate as a learner, because I am also there to learn.  I was tickled pink when I attend an edCamp this summer and a group of teachers were making sure everyone knew Katie Ann was the go-to person for augmented reality in education, they even made sure everyone wrote down my contact information.  Amy one of the teachers in the group made sure I even wrote down the blog address & Twitter Id.  She was very passionate about it.  I was tickled because she didn't recognized me.  Guess I don't look the same with a ponytail and glasses on. Towards the end of the edCamp I did introduced myself to them. Pictures were taken, info exchanged, and I answered a lot of questions and gave them some tips on using augmented reality in their classrooms.

For 2017 I want to inspire others.  As a teacher I plant seeds in a garden, some seeds grow quickly while others take a lot of care before they bloom.  I don't only want to watch my garden grow, I want to inspire others to grow and change.  Instead of being a so called gardener planting seeds I want to tend to a garden that nourishes the growth of caterpillars and butterflies.  Think of me as a Caretaker of a Butterfly Garden, tending to the plants that nourishes both the caterpillars who have yet to find their wings and the butterflies that have made the garden their home.  I want to inspire others grow their wings, help them take flight, and support their growth.  I not only want to inspire others to grow but to become Caretakers of their own gardens.  I want to help others find the right plants, soil, and sun for their own garden.  When each have our own gifts, talents, interests, and needs I just want to help develop them & inspire a new caretaker.

What is your #oneword2017?