Surf's up and it's time to Hang Ten/Tech
After reading Seth Godin’s recent blog post about the difficulties of surfing I couldn’t help but notice a connection to that and incorporating tech in the classroom.
The hard part is learning the technology and risking the waves on the way out for something you're not sure how to do, what kid of balance you'll need, and if the conditions will lead to anything happening.
It’s difficult and intimidating to get out beyond the breaks. The waves look much bigger when you are out in the surf with a board than they do standing safely on the shore.
Once you get beyond that point you’ve really only put yourself in a position to surf and several possible scenarios could take place.
The attempt, like the surf, may fall flat and just not work out. In these cases (which are few) I have found that students are very forgiving and appreciate the effort. This is also true if the tech fails. It happens ("SHARK!") but not as often as feared and students are just as disappointed and don't blame the teacher. They try to get the most out of it anyway.
When the waves do come, the initial ride doesn’t look anything like the clips you’ve seen on TV and YouTube. Don’t expect them to. The time I actually tried surfing it took MANY attempts and things were still not going very well at all. A friend who was trying to learn with me said at one point that he thought we were just being too cautious. “The key may be to just jump up on the board when the wave starts to take you,” he decided. Sure enough, that helped us turn the corner and actually ride a few waves.
It certainly wasn’t anything fancy but it did feel good to accomplish something.
With enough practice on sufficient "waves," tech in the classroom will be a positive experience.