Biking: Technology is Like This

In honor of “May is Bike Month” …

May is Bike Month Logo

How would you plan your commute to work?  May is bike month and so I have been considering how I would ride my bike to work in order to fulfill my “mileage” pledge.

I ride a bike for several reasons:  I enjoy the quiet time. I enjoy the exercise. I enjoy beautiful routes over rolling hills. I enjoy being outside. I enjoy technology for several reasons: It helps me be more productive. It helps me better engage my students. It helps me be creative and collaborative.

I consider riding to work often but there are thoughts that always flood my mind…What if I get a flat?…It’s dark in the morning…It’s too cold…I can’t carry my computer on my bike.  The thoughts go on and on.  If I listened to them, I would never ride to work. So this month, I decided to put the thoughts away and step out and just do it!  I started a week early just to get myself in gear (lol). Technology is like this. As a classroom teacher, there are many reasons not to give technology a try…It’s the way I’ve always done things…It’s too much planning…What if it doesn’t work? It takes making a decision to step out and do it.

I have to be prepared. I get in my cycling gear, get water bottles ready, load up my backpack with work clothes, and test the air in my tires. Technology is like this. It does take preparation! Do a test run (or try out a sample assignment) before trying it out in class or assigning as a project. This may not always be possible, but prepare as much as you can. How about giving out the grading rubric to students along with the sample assignment?

I have been working on figuring out the perfect route – one that gives me enough ride time, but doesn’t cause me to leave when it is too dark or cold! I started May is Bike Month in April just so I could figure out routes! As a classroom teacher, I have to have a plan for my classroom. I have to decide the route to take to help the students meet the intended learning goals.

Beginning cyclists usually like riding somewhere easy…around the block or the American River Trail. They want to ride where it is flat and away from traffic. They begin with short distances and many times will choose to ride with someone who has experience or knows the route.

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Technology is like this. If you are just starting out – start easy! Don’t take on something too big that you can’t handle. Choose one thing and begin there. Just as I had to test out many routes, find something that suites you and your students. Seek out a colleague or staff member with experience (your PLN!).

But – don’t stay there! Imagine taking the same road…every day… for years and years and never venturing off the trail. Augh. Undoubtedly it would get monotonous. Technology is like this. Some teachers teach the same as when they started their profession. We need to engage our students and help them be creative, innovative, and collaborative. Do your research (map out the route) and once you find the tool that will best suite your students’ needs, give it a try. Reflect. Did they meet the intended learning goal? Did the technology add to the experience or detract? Do you need to try another route?

It takes effort to grow. But it is worth it! If I only rode on nice, flat, short rides I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beauty of climbing up a hill. Technology is like this. Step out of your comfort zone a little to try something new. You may not want to try it right away with a class, but do the research and test it out. You may find that you like it! Remember – some of the prettiest (and most fulfilling) roads are off the freeway. Technology is like this.

Finally, I cannot ride my bike to work all the time. Sometimes it is simply not the best choice. I need to carry my computer. I have to leave early for a meeting at another location. It’s pouring out. Technology is like this. You do not have to use it all the time. Sometimes it simply is not the best choice. BUT – sometimes it is. Consider the goals, the students, and the routes.

I do hope to see you out there! 

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