Overcoming my fears

Meet eSchool News' new columnist, a middle-school math teacher who shares his blended-learning journey

Teaching is a personal endeavor. Each and every classroom we walk into is different and exudes the personality of the teacher within. Because education is so personal and teachers work extremely hard, change can sometimes be difficult to come by.

Teachers care deeply about providing the best education possible for our students, but our profession involves an incredibly large volume of work. Often, we cling onto what has worked for us in the past simply because creating something new will tip the delicate balancing act that we’ve managed throughout the years.

I see a sea change coming in education. I think we are at a breaking point in which blended learning is on the cusp of changing our practice. A lot has changed in the last 10 years I’ve been a teacher. I have slowly seen technology catch up to the specific needs of educators.

A decade ago, the iPad hadn’t been introduced. When I wrote my first grant for a classroom set of iPads, I could barely find any math apps that I felt were beneficial for my students. Reading the grant now is like watching a local news story about the Internet in 1997. Devices are now inexpensive enough that one-to-ones initiatives are a reality in districts across the country. Software companies are responding to the specific needs of classroom teachers at an overwhelming pace. Not only are there a myriad of ways to blend technology into a curriculum, but there are also many different products to choose.

Even though I’m comfortable with technology, I was hesitant to incorporate tools into my classroom without considering whether they were best for my students. I was not going to sacrifice the quality of my teaching just for technology’s sake. Fortunately, with the help of others, I was able to find the unique mix of online and traditional learning strategies that worked best for me while putting my students in control of their own learning.

I will be writing columns here at eSchoolNews about my experience overcoming my fears and blending my classroom. I love answering questions about my practice, so please reach out to me on Twitter @blended_math. I hope you enjoy my journey.

[Editor’s Note: See all Blending My Practice columns here.]

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