This past Thursday night, I was so excited to moderate my first ever #teachbetter chat. As many of us get ready to conclude the year or have already concluded the year (lucky!), I wanted to use this chat as a chance to reflect over a year unlike any other. Since I am a tech coach, I chose to focus this reflection on technology. John Dewey said that to grow from our experiences, we must reflect, so for meaningful change to occur, we must reflect on what worked, what needs to go, what was impactful and much more.

Think about your technology use this past year, what are three things you did that want to continue next year?

As I reflected on this question, Pear Deck was the first thing that came to my mind. Pear Deck has been a game changer for my school this past year. As we began the year with virtual instruction, teachers found Pear Deck to be an invaluable resource. Using Pear Deck allowed all of my teachers to not only engage with students no matter their location, but also to give their students important feedback. Pear Deck is just one example of the amazing risk taking that took place this past year. Teachers were willing to take new risks and try new things. This sense of urgency lead to a great deal of innovation. Last, I loved how teachers empowered students to do more content creation using tools like Flipgrid and Wixie. Getting our students to be content creators and respond to each other is a vital skill to prepare them for the future.

On the other hand, when you consider your technology use this past year, what are three things that you would like to ditch or abandon in the coming year?

Once again, my first answer came fast and furious to my mind. No matter what educators call it (concurrent teaching, hyflex or hybrid), expecting an educator to teach two different ways to two different groups at the same time is extremely challenging I sincerely hope that school systems ditch the idea of such practices. In addition, I hope school systems move away from an all or nothing approach with technology. Neither avoiding using all technology in face to face settings or doing all assignments on a computer are best practice. We need to find a balance and use technology in ways that amplify student learning.

What technology tools were you go to's this past year? Why were they your go to's?

It should come as no surprise that Pear Deck was one of my go tos this past year. If you want to see some of the amazing ways that my teachers have used Pear Deck, check out my 1/9/2021: Pear Deck to the Rescue post. Another tool that was invaluable was Padlet. I love how Padlet promotes anytime communication and collaboration and I was so glad that my school had purchased a subscription this year. Yet, one of my new favorites is Google Jamboard. Now that you can customize your backgrounds, this tool is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Check out some ways that I use Jamboard in my 3/13/2021: Jamboarding Thinking Routines post.

What is one way that technology transformed your educational practice this past year?

This past year, my use of technology to connect with others in my professional learning network (PLN) has truly transformed my practice. Through interactions with other educators through the Teach Better Administrator Mastermind, the Teach Better Ambassadors, Teach Better 12 Live, Code Breakers Leadership Lounge, Code Breaker Power Summit and more, I have truly grown so much. These connections have led to opportunities as well. These opportunities encouraged me to take risks and level up.

If reading my responses is making you curious about what others shared, go to Twitter and go to Twitter and check out the hashag #teachbetter. You can also check out the Facebook LIVE session afterwards where Jeff Gargas and I discussed the chat or watch it on the right.

During the Facebook Live, we discussed my answers to the questions listed above and some takeaways from the chat. Here are three of my takeaways:

  1. From Dawn Harris: If we’re using tech, it should improve the experience & the outcomes!

  2. From Katie Miglin: Technology changed EVERYTHING this year... it allowed me to teach remotely, to communicate with my students no matter their location, & bring creativity in a unique way. Tech changed my teaching game for the better!

  3. From Charles Williams: I love that I can record and connect with families on their schedule. I don't feel so bad with low turnout because I know they're tuning in when they're able. Google meetings are great when needed. No, we don't have to drive an hour to chat