The Face that goes with the Technology

Prom Night Stars
In the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to connect with students in a manner that does not deal with technology or EdTech.  I had the wonderful opportunity to attend our school's prom event.  Needless to say it was a great prom.  I had a wonderful time connecting with students about the night and their future plans.  They were all brilliant, inspiring, and a bunch of very well dressed and good looking young adults.  This event and the days following had me thinking about our students and how, as IT/TechEd folks, we interact with them.

I am stating the obvious, but they are the reason we have jobs.  In a lot of school districts, students are nothing but numbers to the IT/TechEd staff.  But with the push for 1:1, can we really afford to be that distant to the largest part of our organization?  Those of you that know me, have heard me talk about the need to connect with teachers, but honestly, since I left the classroom, I have not focused as much on the student needs as I believe I should have.  These last two weeks have helped me put some things in perspective.

Through out the last four years, I had the opportunity to interact with students on several occasions without a technical agenda.  I saw students working together in both school work and in play.  They were happy and I really enjoyed seeing them that way.  I saw students that had issues, and I was able to be supportive in that moment.  I saw students that needed direction, and I was able be there to guide them.  I was able to communicate with student on a personal level, and they have seen fit to come to me for advise, and not just about the technology.  The last two weeks, really pointed out that one of the main benefits of being in the classroom is the interaction with students.  I also know that most of our IT peers never really get the chance to experience that level of interaction with students.  That needs to change.  They are the biggest stakeholders in our occupation, and we really need to pay more attention to them then identifying them as a number or a statistic.

Digital Classroom
I know it is easier for this to occur in a smaller school district, but I challenge my peers to start to take an interest in the reason we are here:  our students.  They have a lot riding on their school career, and every student needs to see that the adults around them support and care about their future.  So, take some time away from the technology and spend some time getting to know one, two or a group of students.  Sponsor or advise a club or sports group.  Attend a school event as a chaperone.  Spend lunch outside in the quad or in the cafeteria.  Let them see you as an adult that cares, as a human being that is on their side, or as a mentor to confide in.  After all we all want them to succeed.

Our district has been 1:1 for six years, and GAFE for since 2007.  We have endeavored to provide a learning environment that is rich in technology, academically challenging, and will serve as a launchpad for both college and career for all of our students.  Yet, I know there is so much more I have to offer to our students instead of just being the tech guy.  So I will leave you with this and encourage you to get to know the students your support.

"Lead students to greatness, follow through on your promises to them, and get out of the way when they are creative." 

Magboo, Michael. Prom Night Stars. Digital image. 2 May 2015. Web.
Magboo, Michael. Digital Classroom. Digital image. 2 May 2015. Web.


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