A Timely Gift for The Holidays

‘Tis the season when everyone is looking for the perfect present. Wherever you turn, there are gift ideas for outdoors folks, gourmet cooks, book lovers, animal fans and, of course, tech people.

In our interconnected and fast-paced world, it’s easy to point, click and order something that can be delivered right to someone’s front door. But, if you listen to Dr. Seuss’s Grinch, the best gift comes without ribbons, it comes without tags, it comes without packages, boxes or bags!

The best gift for anyone on your list is the gift of time.

Our students need time to think, to create, to question, to explore. Technology allows us to differentiate our instruction so that students can focus on their personal learning needs. One student may be creating a great presentation with PowerPoint and Photos while another is still searching for the just the right resources to copy into their OneNote. When we allow students the time to work at their own pace, we can more easily focus on those students who need a little more of our time. And when students are responsible for working on their own time, the classroom looks and sounds very different. We need to relax and allow our students time to become comfortable and competent collaborating & communicating.

The casual technology-using teachers we train need time to feel proficient and confident in the new tech they’re learning. We must slow down and instruct them at their pace so they don’t feel frustrated and overwhelmed. The biggest complaint I hear about trainings and deployments is that things go far too fast. We need to check for understanding often, perhaps even showing one step and then walking around the room to make sure all are on the same page. And don’t forget to take the time to smile often or give an encouraging word so our fellow teachers know we are here to help them become proficient, no matter how long it takes.

Our family and friends need to know how much we appreciate their support of our enthusiasm for educational technology. The best gift to give them is your time, without smart phones or tablets or any kind of interconnectivity. Cook and eat delicious food together, challenge each other to exciting board games, tell stories that bring smiles and laughter to all.

Lastly, remember to give yourself a little time to rest, relax and recreate. We push ourselves and our tech to the limit most days of the school year. All too soon, we’ll be back at it after Winter break.

Let the only Tweets you hear be from actual birds outside your window. Let the only creature stirring be you, not a (computer) mouse. Let FaceTime be ACTUAL face time.

Take time to put down the technology and be truly present to those you love.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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