No Grazing! Don’t Treat Apps Like the Holidays

During the holidays at my house, I tend to be a grazer.  I like to eat a little of this and a little of that all day long with a large helping of sweets intermixed throughout the day.  It feels good during the day, but somehow I’m always unhappy with the way I feel at the end of the day.  I feel overloaded and my stomach is crying out!

Drew Barton (@MrDBarton) recently sent me this article he came across on Twitter and I couldn’t agree more with Kyle Pace’s (@kylepace) thoughts here.  His point is that teachers spend way too much time worrying about how many technologies others are using or which apps are being used by others.

The result is that we become a “jack-of-all-trades and masters of none.”  We never get good at any technologies.  We just graze from one technology, app or software to another.  We never get good enough at a technology that we know the ins and outs of it.  We never get so comfortable with a tool that the students in our classes use it proficiently and transparently.  We are always introducing new apps and tools and struggle to see how to use it effectively in our classrooms.

The graphic above is such a tempting Smorgasboard.  There’s so much out there to try.  And don’t get me wrong… trying new things is a good thing.  But grazing can be bad for your health!

I think the important message here is to find a few technologies or apps you can sink your teeth into and spend time with your classes using that tool over and over.  We need to develop a work flow with the technology that works smoothly and is productive for the classroom.  We need to get to the point that the students become proficient at using the tool and can dig into the nooks and crannies of the tool.

The second important message is that we need to have students use the technology often and frequently enough to get over the learning curve and feel comfortable.  I think we feel so much pressure to try new things all the time that we never get good at any of it.

Once this tool is embedded in the regular routine of your classroom, then look at other technologies that can enhance the learning environment and culture of the classroom.

Kyle Pace’s article:  Movement is Movement