In the words of a coaching client, “I don’t want to learn a whole new program just to teach my kids!” It’s true we have gone through so much training to help our struggling readers. Some of you might be OG certified, have gotten a master's degree as a reading specialist, or maybe some training as a special educator. As teachers, we are lifelong learners 🙇🏻♀️ and naturally want to find what’s best for our students.
So, why do we need to learn how to make a bitmoji, or use a program like Koala? Sure, these programs may help some of our kids, but what I've learned, and many of you are learning as well, is that if kids don’t know these programs are out there they won’t be missing them!
This week, I'm sharing my top reasons for why you might want to keep it simple with tech and use the skills you have as an amazing reading teacher. 😉
Why You Want to Have Low-Tech Lessons
You Don’t Want to Be Replaced By Tech
This is the big one I share in small group coaching. First, when we get on a computer we are competing against video games like Minecraft and Roadblocks, and it may seem natural to turn reading into a video game too, but in the end you have to ask yourself, "Can my parents (clients ) replace me with parts of these programs on the concepts that I’m working on with students?" or "If this is a program that a parent can purchase on their own, is there Is a chance that all of a sudden your lessons go from 4 times a week to two times a week as they rely on the tech to do the teaching?" When you are online, you want to be irreplaceable and stay the center of instruction.
Students Getting Bored
I know it doesn’t seem possible because we have added all these bells and whistles and we still hear that b word… the only thing left in our corner is the connection we can build with our students 👦🏻 and how we maintain control of our lesson. A reading game online may feel fun at first, but the fun can dwindle away. Try a much more engaging approach to online teaching. Remember, what they are not introduced to, they can’t miss.
Students Can Get Obsessed Or Stuck
Sure, these places can seem loads of fun but are they too fun. I’ll give you a quick example, I think Go Noodle is a fantastic resource, especially for a big group of kids. However, when I tried it one-to-one, uh-oh the tech troubles reared their ugly head! It was playing and freezing like the Disney movie Frozen ❄️ When I finally got it to work, the student didn’t want to leave! 😩 It was near impossible to get back to our lesson! If you want some strategies on how to build in fun activities without tech, go to this blog or this one.
Your Student-Teacher Relationship Suffers
This is a a big one. When we share our screen, our video immediately gets smaller. We lose some of the ability to see how frustrated our students are or if they're tired or sad. They lose some of the ability to see our empathy, and guess what? Suddenly you don't have that same control to have these amazing moments because they are so focused on the next video-game-like application.
You Get Frustrated and Waste Time
We lose so much of our time trying to learn something way out of our comfort zone and expertise. You have spent years figuring out what’s best for students. You’ve studied, worked one-to-one, have the materials, and now all of a sudden someone says, "Oh, you have to use this new program. It works so much better." What works is a student-centered approach!
We are lifelong learners as teachers, 🧑🏻🏫 but sometimes a better way of using your time is figuring out how to replicate that in-person experience that has worked for decades and continue to research best practices. I know making Bitmojis 😃 can seem like a fun thing to learn, but it’s not going to make you a better teacher for your students. They miss you; they need you, and they are used to a certain way of learning!