Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Power of Bow Ties and Cell Phones

As I walked into the Junior English class to share my views on research I became quite aware of 2 things…first, it was Bow Tie Tuesday and the farther away from the elementary school and closer to the high school you get the “cool” of the bow tie tends to wane.  Second, apparently high school kids are not truly interested in the exciting world of implementation systems and why schools continue to struggle with getting buy in from staff members as they roll out programming.  Riveting stuff to me!!!!  I told them to give me 4 minutes to explain my dissertation research, 11 minutes to interact with an activity, and the rest of the time was theirs because talking about research is not nearly as productive as actually engaging in the process.  After 4 minutes I thought they were as confused as could be…the next thing that happened confused them even more than talking about Schlechty’s trailblazers, pioneers, settlers, stay-at-homes, and saboteurs and which of the roles in school has the most influence on the staff as a whole.  I asked them to take out their cell phones.  They looked at each other as if I was going to pass around a box and collect them!  Some even claimed they didn’t have them until we started the activity…just to make sure I wasn’t going to take them. I had a few questions set up on Poll Everywhere, which is a great resource for instant feedback.  It was interesting that the conversation turned from research to use of cell phones.  After the initial shock of being able to use the phone and then the obvious attempt to show their personality with the :) post or the “I don’t get it” that shows up on the projector it was nice to use a vehicle that they interact with so often outside of school in the classroom.  I think we have to trust kids to make good decisions and give them the opportunity to do so.  Trust does need to be earned but sometimes I think we want kids to climb an enormous mountain before we trust them as opposed to giving them the opportunity right away.  I am encouraged that some of the high school staff has started using mobile technology more (Remind101 has been great to get information to kids via text) and trying to break down the barriers of their world and our world…or at least dipping the proverbial toe in the water.  We’re not close yet, but the willingness to change is always the first step in the implementation system (or at least that’s what the kids should know after the awe inspiring 4 minutes of Sanfelippo dissertation discussion!!)

I walked out with a few thoughts…

1.        Instead of students earning our trust, how do we earn theirs?

2.        What do I need to do as an administrator to make my staff feel like they can take risks to use more mobile technology in classrooms?

3.       How do I get Bow Tie Tuesday to translate to the high school? Ha!

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