Sunday, January 20, 2019

Will It Blend?

Did anyone else watch these videos from almost a decade ago?

Will It Blend?

Well, in case you aren't one of the 18,749,163 views, and you don't have one minute and forty
seconds, the Blendtec gentleman, Tom Dickson blends an iPad.

Yes, a functioning (it seems) iPad.

I know what you're thinking, I could have used that iPad in my classroom.
Or perhaps, you thought, GOOD riddance! Also, what a fantastic blender that must be.

You might be right in either case. We've all had our good technology classroom days, and the days we'd like to put the technology in the Blendtec.

I feel at this point in my blog I should also mention I am not being sponsored by Blendtec.

Now onto Alec's question:

What are your experiences and perceptions related to your own use of blended learning and/or technology integration in your professional context? What challenges and opportunities have you experienced?

I work in a computer lab style classroom, so I would say my lessons are immersed in technology.

I have both kinds of days…

Most days are the days I love technology! I am so pumped to teach students who have never or rarely use computers and maybe get to see it in a new light. I have students say "this is the BEST CLASS EVER!" on a regular basis and that's not about me and my teaching. That is solely the programs they are learning. I am not sure there are a lot of teachers that get to hear that.

I had a student this semester write a journal entry that was quite moving.  It was about how he loves graphic design but didn't realize he could ACTUALLY be a graphic designer until we went on a field trip and he met REAL people that do the job.  He said he felt like a kid who said they wanted to be an astronaut and people would say "oh, that's nice" but never actually believed he could do it. His life changed on the field trip (his words, not mine) and so those are the days that I am shocked and appalled someone would think to (let alone, actually) blend a functioning piece of technology.

As for the other days… when I wonder if I could charge a Blendtec to my school master-card and if the office would notice…

Are the days when you've done a lesson over and over, but then when you go to present, something has gone wrong and you can't finish the lesson so the kids are just staring at you.

Or, the internet is down.

Or, the programs are crashing.

Or, tech support is not supporting you, and you feel they should change their name to tech sabotage, because it feels more like their mission statement.

So anytime you are using technology, my advice is over-plan. Just as you would normally.

Power's out? Well, onto plan b.

Which makes me think of the readings this week. Tony Bates mentions:
"As with all teaching, distance education can be done well or badly."
As with all teaching! If you aren't planned, or you haven't gone through something a few times, it can be disastrous, whether or not tech is involved.

I also liked that the reading talked about costs. The cost to run a face-to-face class vs. an online or distance style classroom. Now that I think of it, online learning likely has a smaller carbon foot print too. Less printed texts, less cars driving to one building… (but I haven't researched or even Googled that, so please don't hold me to it.)

Lastly, I liked that Bates mentioned blended learning is good for students because if they go onto further their educations, they will likely do some kind of online or distance ed.
We are setting students up for the future.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

At the end of my semester, I have the students teach the other students some kind of tutorial

related to our class. It is one of my all time favourite projects. The students get to see what

it's like to be me, they always find cool tutorials, hopefully the other students learn something, and I always learn something.

So I am in the happy tech camp. The non-blending camp. I think technology is here to stay, and we need to adapt. We need to support our students, teachers, and technology in the schools.

Even though, there are days I think about this scene from Office Space and smile…


  1. Hi Anne! I love the humour in your post. I know we all have those days with technology. I actually had to function without an LCD projector in my room for over 3 months! That was tough. You are lucky to get to teach in a lab style classroom. If I want computers, I need to book up to two weeks in advance and sometimes, depending on the period of the day, it's not even an option because other teachers are using them as part of their daily classroom. It can be frustrating! I love your project to get students to teach each other; I've done a similar project in my ELA courses and I'm always learning something from them and they love teaching each other. I also agree that technology is here to stay and we need to adapt to it. We are setting our students up for failure if we ignore this progress. Even thinking about when they are finished with school, they need to learn how to be lifelong learners, and learn how to teach themselves skills they need in an online world and access trusted sources of information. It's our responsibility to prepare them beyond the classroom for this everchanging advancing world!

  2. It is really cool that you had that experience with your student (you forgot to tell me about that). Allowing students to see someone they can look up to is very valuable.

    I love that you say you need to overplan and practice any lesson. Failing is normal when you first use technology. It is important to work through the bugs, be patient and spend time researching and preparing your lesson!

    P.S you are so funny.

  3. Anne, you're just hilarious. I too OFTEN feel a gigantic smile spread across my face when I see that the scene from the office - but alas, you're right technology is here to stay and we midaswell embrace it! I commend, as Amy mentions above, your dedication to making this work. I think the majority of the problem with considering a tech classroom or a blended learning classroom is that it seems like A LOT of work with the potential for A LOT of problems and many people just don't bother. HUGE disservice to the kids we teach that will not be able to avoid technology as they navigate the work force...whatever that will look like to them! Hang in there - you're the best. :)

    1. PS. This is Dani! Not sure why I'm unknown. haha

  4. I agree that technology is here to stay and it's great to see so many educators try to figure out how to best harness the potential tech has in education. Always have a plan B tho :-) It's also important to handle tech issues with patience and problem solving mindset as the kiddos notice our how we handle these challenges and can influence how they approach tech as well. Your blender reference made me think of this video which I think you may enjoy