Monday, September 15, 2014

Tracy's Tuesday Tech Tip: Back to the Earth

Many of my students know my love for Jason Mraz - acoustic guitars are just one of those things, coupled with meaningful lyrics. When Mraz's single "Love Somebody" was released in May off his latest album, YES!, a number of students excitedly asked me if I had heard his new song. Made my heart warm inside to have built those relationships where they know me well enough to make those connections with me beyond music or technology.

Another song that is heard in a commercial or two as of late is Back to the Earth, which contains the lyrics "I try to stop the world from moving too fast, try to get a grip on where I'm at, and simply this dizzy life and put my feet in the grass." Too often, I feel the world truly is moving so fast - I start my school day, and suddenly it's already the end of the day before I know it! Where did the time go? Where did those moments of reflection go? What just happened?!

Taking time to reflect, take a step back, and go back to earth truly enables students and educators together to see the growth and progress of how far they've come. The roots that education is for all of our youth allows for the foundation for success, motivation and more. Technology can aid in that process - sharing a quick voice recording of a reflection from a lesson plan, or better, students creating their reflections in a new way - a radio show with Garage Band, where students practices their speaking and listening skills in reading with reflection. How about a newscast by using iMovie or TouchCast, which can serve as an opportunity to role play and further engage learners as well as gain a concrete understanding of the learning.

Interestingly enough, Mraz's line immediately before is "Whenever my head starts to hurt, before it goes from bad to feeling worse, I turn off my phone and I get down low, and put my hands in the dirt." Truly, technology the vast opportunities are wonderful for students, but maintaining a balance in screentime is just as key. Taking a step back to turn off the phone, and do that simple community and classroom relationship building, remains just as important as the latest and greatest discovery on a mobile device. For with that relationship comes the trust, the motivation, the honesty, and the risk-taking needed to try something new or traditional and to know that everything will be okay along the way.

Many of the song titles on YES! come into play into teaching and education: some days, you have to go Back to the Earth, take a step back, and try something traditional with perhaps a bit of tech integration, other days, students and teachers need to Rise to a new challenge that innovative technology practice. Along the way, some things may fall apart, but maybe the most important of 3 Things to remember is to "take a breath and bow and let the chapter end." Our lessons will live on - especially the memorable ones in our students' lives. There will remember those impactful moments of the Skypes with an author, the career days or community and culture week. We design our futures bright not based on where we've been, but how we try again, and through it all, love for our students is always the answer.

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