How it all started…

Well here’s the first post… the first few posts will be more of a historical narrative I guess, sharing what I’ve learnt in the past four years. After that I’ll post the current steps of my ICT journey, as they happen.

I did my teacher training at the New Zealand Graduate School of Education in Christchurch, and started working at Linwood College in October 2008. The week before I started my new job, the school had 2Touch interactive whiteboards installed in each Maths classroom. I think that’s what really got me into the ICT game – I had to get used to the technology at the same time as getting used to being a teacher, simultaneously learning both from scratch. So for me, right from the start, classroom teaching and ICT have been woven together.

Using the IWB at Linwood College

One of my students using the IWB at Linwood College

The first thing I noticed was that the way I imagined using the IWB did not match the way I could actually use it… In my head I was Tony Stark in his workshop, dragging and flipping virtual icons and text around the board with ease. In reality, I had calibration issues, couldn’t write legibly with my finger so that the software could pick it up properly, didn’t know what the buttons were for on the toolbar of the new software… and I always had an audience of 30-odd (some more odd than others) teenagers to keep me humble!

I realised pretty quickly that even though there were plenty of flashy tools already at my disposal, I would never be able to use them effectively or fluently if I didn’t nail the basics first. So I spent at least a term (roughly 10 school weeks) just learning how to calibrate the board quickly, write on the board legibly, and save the document (called a “workbook” in the 2Touch software) at the end of each lesson. Literally, that was all I did – just used it as an ink-less whiteboard. But since I wasn’t trying to get my head around everything at once, I became really comfortable with the basics. And the more comfortable I became, the bolder I grew about trying the other features available. It started with inserting an image onto the slide and annotating it in class with the students, then I tried preparing a workbook before the lesson to use in the class, and pretty soon I was creating re-usable resources with all sorts of features that made the lessons much more engaging and interesting for the students.

Resource for introducing angles    

A workbook for introducing angles

Algebra resource

An algebra workbook

The lesson here, I guess, is start simple. I have met plenty of teachers who have expensive tools available but have never used them, because it’s such a huge job to learn how to use it all and become comfortable with it. That’s understandable, but then there’s the old adage about how one eats an elephant… one bite at a time.

Start simple, but start something.

Of course, I was still using ICT in a very teacher-centric way, to deliver static information… but it was the first step in my ICT journey.

%d bloggers like this: