Lighten up, teach!
Ok, I'll admit it. I like to argue. Not because I particularly enjoy conflict. Rather, I love digging deep into something to really understand an issue rather than surface ideas about it that may or may not be true (and this podcast is living evidence of that). Even when it means my initial position was wrong (and sadistically, I most enjoy when that is the case). So one of my questions for Charmaine Smith, Executive Director of ITEF this week, was designed for just such digging: with the recent focus on bang for your buck, do you think criticism of tech spending is justified? Her answer was unexpected.
In short, it's good to ask those questions but there are some things that are hard to measure As a researcher that one made my ass twitch but I have to admit she had a point. Longitudinal studies might show impact of the kinds of grants they supply but those are neither practical nor necessarily feasible right now. So we have to go on general impressions when it comes to the projects awarded in their Innovation Grant. These projects are not designed to move the needle on specific outcomes. Rather, they're designed to build excitement around learning. And that's ok! While asking tough questions on the ROI of tools like learning management systems, it's simultaneously useful to apply grants like this to exploring areas where we're really not certain what will work and what doesn't. It goes against our nature as teachers (we're not really trained to explore...we're trained to plan for every possibility) but it's a valuable skill.
So lighten up! Go find an area of your teaching that engages in that playful side and brings out the explorer in your students! Charmaine's waiting on your excellent application!