As a teacher, I live in an almost constant thankful stage. I really feel like I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get the opportunity to daily make an impact on my students, interact with them face to face and in a world language I love and help them do more and connect to the world with technology.
I am a blessed man.
As a technology-obsessed teacher — constantly trying to integrate technology to further the objectives of my classes and improve the lives of my students — there are many things I’m thankful for.
For example, I’m thankful for …
1. People like Chris Biffle that understand how the brain work and can help us use that more effectively in the classroom.
2. My original VCR/DVD cart and how it got me started down the road to innovating my teaching.
3. Jase Robertson. Yes, the bearded duck call maker from Duck Dynasty. His re-tweet of my class’s picture sparked me to rethink how I use social media.
4. Will Richardson’s “Why School?” ebook and how it has sparked new thinking in how I teach and how I view education.
5. Ken Robinson’s Ted Talks. The quotes I’ve gathered from them have been inspirational.
6. Good solid pedagogy. It’s the most important part of educational technology. Without it, edtech would be useless.
7. Global learning. It’s amazing what’s available to us today that we could have never dreamed of a decade ago — even a few years ago.
8. Google Docs. Hands down the most powerful digital teaching tool I’ve used. I started with easy ways to integrate it, then continued to find other ways it made my teaching easier.
9. Google searching. Any question is a quick search away from an answer. I’m amazed at all that you can do with a Google search these days. (However, a good base of knowledge will never be replaced with Googling information.)
10. A school administration that supports my efforts at a paperless classroom. (Even though I’ve struggled with it from time to time.)
11. Conferences — like the one produced by the National Association for Gifted Children and the Indiana Department of Education’s Summer of eLearning conferences — where I am constantly invigorated and filled with new ideas.
12. My students’ blogs. Blogging has turned student writing into a more interactive experience that’s relevant to my students’ lives.
13. Class Dojo. I use it almost every day to mark student attendance, but it can be used for so much more.
14. Online flashcards. I create sets of them all the time for my students on Quizlet and they can access them to practice on their own smartphones and devices. There are lots of options for creating them.
15. Wikipedia. There. I said it. I’m thankful for Wikipedia. Actually, it’s a lot more reliable than many people give it credit for.
16. TodaysMeet. It’s another “almost use it every day” tool. It very well may be the simplest, easiest web tool you ever use.
17. SAMR. It’s a great model to use to get the most out of technology in your lessons. Since I learned about it this summer, I’ve been striving for the “redefinition” level whenever possible.
18. My colleagues and my PLN (personal learning network). Through many channels of collaboration, I’ve benefited from great fellow educators — ranging from some that work in the same building as me to others I’ll never meet all over the world (thanks to the power of Twitter).
Finally, to conclude my list, I’m thankful for you. Everyone that has read my blog — and especially those that have commented on it and provided feedback — have been a huge inspiration to me in this last year. My journey into educational technology and becoming the best teacher I can be has been much richer because of people like you.
From the bottom of my heart, I’m thankful.
What makes the educator in you — techy or not — thankful this Thanksgiving? Leave a comment and let us know!
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Matt is scheduled to present at the following conferences this school year:
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