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Monday, November 10, 2014

Reflection on Facilitating Digital Kids

Facilitating in SED 561was, for me, an experience we refer to in the Central Falls School District as a "learning stretch."  That term is bandied about among the faculty and leadership to describe putting someone in an uncomfortable position, in order to help them grow intellectually or professionally. Needless to say, as the date for Tina and I to present "Digital Kids" to our cohort drew near, my level of trepidation correspondingly increased.  Dr. Bogad and Tina, my co-teacher, were tremendously helpful in prepping some of the nerves out before class began, but Tuesday night and Wednesday day still felt an awful lot like the night before coaching my first High School game ten years ago.  I am very comfortable in the leadership roles I have chosen, but stepping into a new situation always comes with some anxiety, I am thankful that I have such an exceptional group in SED 561 to allow me to grow in new ways.

The authors we had read prior to 10/29 provided us with a map of effective, inclusive, equitable teaching practices, and the topic was interesting and important.  The challenge is, with so much information and resources available, how to keep the discussion and presentation of materials focused and purposeful.  Tina and I struggled throughout our planning with just how much material to bring in, in support of our article (then of course I made copies of the wrong article).  In our discussions, we both had links and connections we thought were valuable, and "takeaways" which we have used in our teaching, that we thought would be interesting.  I really liked the idea of making people uncomfortable with the idea of checking in and "being in the same space, but separate" and felt like the group was generally uncomfortable with the change to our check-in.  Tina's choice of opening video was powerful, and her Tweet took us into conversations that segued perfectly into the class discussion.  I felt like the flow of the class (timing, materials, transitions) went very well, although it always feels like there is so much pressure to fit a few more things in.  I sometimes struggle with allowing everyone the opportunity for equal time, and not dominating conversations in my classroom, but I have been working on this, and facilitating this class really helped me focus on actively listening, to be able to respond to each other, rather than try to make a point.  It definitely helps that we have such an insightful and responsive cohort.  

As Tina mentioned in relation to the Todd Rose talk, we are not asking if you want technology in your classroom, it's already here.  I was thinking about the rain, and inequality, and the idea of being a digital immigrant trying to operate in an classroom filled with natives.  My takeaway from the week, therefor is to learn the native language, stay relevant, and introduce the natives to each other more often, so that they can play in either world, and feel right at home, and so can I.  

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