Get in the pool

I had the privilege of sharing with some teacher leaders recently about tech tools that can help them specifically in the area of mentoring new teachers. A few were practical (like Jing, Twitter, etc.), others were in harmony with district or state initiatives (GAFE, Educate Alabama, etc.). Regardless, as usual, there was too much to share and not enough time to share it.

Presenting at state and national conferences, PD at the local school or district...all of that is the school librarian's arena. We are a people who loves to learn and share what we know.

The trickiest thing about presenting to large groups of people is the extremism and variety in skill level. There are those who still use a flip phone and get twitchy if you start talking about going on the inter webs, and there are those who can build a computer from a tub full of spare parts.

In our mixed interest and mixed ability group, I started out by asking everyone to envision going to the pool (appropriate, with our current temps in the upper 90s). Sometimes when you go to the pool, you see people sitting on the edge with their feet barely in. Sometimes you see people standing or sitting on the side with their legs in. Sometimes you see people standing or moving around in the shallow end, slowly and methodically. Sometimes you see people intensely focused on swimming laps, chugging along in the pool to reach a certain goal. And sometimes you see people just having the wildest of times. Cannonballs, diving board, flips, playing games, going under until they reach the bottom, just fully and wholly enjoying the pool.

Technology is the pool.

Sometimes people want to try out new technology cautiously, barely dipping their feet in or walking around slowly in the shallow end. And then there are people like me who are just in love with the pool. I'll try anything! I'll wallow around in it, swim until I can touch the bottom, and do flips off the diving board into the technology pool.

But I have to recognize and respect that not everyone feels the same way about the pool. To some people, the pool is scary. They'll stick their toe in, but even then they want a life jacket, a life raft, and a friend holding their hand. And that is okay.

My goal for the recent group was to just get them to stick their toe in the water. And using that analogy made everyone feel more comfortable, because no matter where you are on the technology integration continuum, there's always room for growth and for learning...but teachers can't do that unless they feel safe, comfortable, and supported.

I'm going back to my Feedly and Twitter to see what new tricks I can learn to jump off the diving board today. Maybe that's you, and maybe you're the one on the side in the life jacket.

However you can, just make sure that somehow, you get in the pool!

*image from unsplashcom under CC0