“I’m bad at technology”

As an Edtech, it’s my job to work with educators to help them learn to integrate technology into their classrooms and curriculum.

More often than I’d like, one of the first things a teacher or administrator will tell me when they meet me is “I’m bad at technology” or “I’m tech illiterate” or “I don’t do computers.” There’s a genuine fear of using technology, and I suspect also that they’ll be embarrassed by what they don’t know and that I’ll end up judging them.

A few years ago, I was with a group of administrators doing an escape room. When the timer started, most of them just stood around and looked at things, because nobody wanted to try and fail and look vulnerable

The irony to all this is that I then walk down the hallways of their campus and see the growth mindset posters on the walls, encouraging students to change their internal dialogue from “I can’t do this” to “This is hard, but I need to keep working at it to get better.” Seems like they aren’t following their own advice.

Frankly, I’m fine with the fact that you don’t know how to do all the things with technology. I’m not judging you for it, because it’s literally my job to help you. If every educator was good with computers and knew all the ways to integrate technology into their lessons flawlessly, I’d be unemployed.

I want you to know that you CAN do technology. Like your students, you just haven’t learned it all yet. If you listen to the advice you give your students and have a growth mindset, you WILL make progress.

I think the biggest misconception that educators have is that, if they’re going to start integrating technology, they have to do it all right away and be absolutely perfect immediately.

I have a newsflash for you–even EdTechs don’t know everything. We mess up. I’ve had presentations tank in front of a group of people. Other times, equipment has malfunctioned or the internet went down. Yeah, it’s cringeworthy and embarrassing, but I lived through it. I learned from my mistakes. I redid the presentation that was boring and made it better. I failed forward.

As educators, we don’t expect perfection from our students if they’ve never tried something, but we expect it from ourselves. It’s time to stop, take a deep breath, and focus on one thing at a time. #edtechinten Click To Tweet

We do all-day tech trainings in our district, and I see teacher leaving at the end of the day feeling overwhelmed, even if they are excited. I always tell them–pick one thing you learned and focus on that. Once you feel comfortable, move on to the next thing. You can’t do it all at once.

Also, use your resources. Google is an amazing source of knowledge. I get asked questions all the time that I don’t know the answer to, and I’m not afraid to say “I have no idea. Let’s see what we can find” and go to Google and look up the answer.

If you have questions, reach out to your colleagues. Your district probably has someone that specializes in technology integration, so ask them for help. If not, find a computer teacher or a colleague on campus and see what they know.

Finally…ask your students. Chances are, they can help if you’ve run into some technical problem, and it’s good for them to see that even adults don’t have the answers and need help.

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