Keynote 2: Once Upon Our Time

 Lindsay Wesner's keynote was about storytelling. She began with her own story, one not to disimilar to my own; a little girl who grew up with very little access to technology and who was greatly challenged when she was asked to use it a school. However, Lindsay began her teaching career at the blackboard using worksheets and exercise books. At the time this was the norm, she was respected by her colleagues and her students experienced success. Then she found herself lost in a 1:1 Macbook class.

This could have very easily been me; I learnt basic IT skills at high school, but I would have struggled in a 1:1 classroom had it not been for the professional development I gained from the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy. It was great to hear Lindsay's story as it reminded me of how far I have come and how fortunate I am to be capable of presenting at such an event so early in my career. It also reminded me to slow down when presenting and to be considerate of those who are at the start of their journey with technology and education.

Lindsay described the discomfort she experienced as she adapted to the 1:1 classroom.  She tried one new thing each week to develop her understanding of technology and to make the change more manageable. Then she asked us to consider whether we are still taking risks and trying new things, or whether we have become complacent with where we are now; just as she was at her blackboard. This was a good reminder that we cannot stop learning and adapting our practice, we must continue our stories and question where we will reach our climax.

While time and the curriculum can be viewed as constraints, the real constraint is our mindsets. As educators we must find the time to be innovative, to challenge our current practice and to be committed to constantly adapting our practice. We cannot become complacent.

She then asked how often we ask our students to tell their stories. This again caused me to reflect on my practice, as I am a firm believer in sharing my stories with the children and I have attempted to solicit my students. However, I don't believe I am doing nearly enough of this, or in enough depth. Hearing some of the things that Lindsay has done with her students in the past inspired me to push further with this and to give more of a platform to my students to share their stories.


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