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From Weeds to Spaceship

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Many in my choir of connected educators continue to “push the envelope” with innovative and creative ways of producing, creating, and learning with their students and others. A lot of us have chucked the “life-long learners” speak to be a  “life-long contributor” of their PLN. We are constantly on a spaceship of exploring.

Then there are those still stuck in the weeds refusing to move or participate in any new technology or event.

So how do we move those weeders to the spaceship of collaboration, innovation, and passion? Don’t give up on them. They know they are in the weeds and are hoping no one will call them on it. This is not a generational thing, although admittedly many are older, I have witnessed a young 20-something that refused to use google docs in replacement of “dropping” powerpoint files back and forth between drop boxes. “I like it my way.”

But this is my charge! Everyday seek out a weeder and help. Find that ONE thing that will get them out of the weeds. Yep, I know it’s hard and we all love to be on the spaceship of new technologies and topics. But how? First, we slowly take them to the shore, drive with them in the car to the launchpad. They will be passengers first, then when boarding the spaceship, take on a specific role of independence.

Here are some of my de-weeding stories:

  • An extremely tech-phobic PE teacher that didn’t do any professional growth activities due to the new online procedure. He loved eight-track music. He was given an iPod for the PE classroom and I  helped set up his computer to sync his music. It transformed his classroom with a new speaker set and he began to research new songs. Students were connecting with him about music while they were running at the start of class.  I showed him how to setup playlists and soon realized that the radio was also on iTunes as well. Slowly introduced Podcasts and iTunes U. Then through email, I would send interesting songs I found on iTunes. I helped set up folders in mail and asked about social networking. He has become the leader of technology in the PE department, and it all started with an iPod.
  • A business leader who loves to read. I suggested a Kindle.  Her comment, “I love to read with my hands.” I showed all the other possibilities that the Kindle had to offer, and she quickly she began to understand the power of having so many books at her fingertips. When I showed how easy it was to download the book and start reading, she was hooked! I introduced goodreads.com where she could connect with others that are book readers. She couldn’t believe some her best friends were on there and never told her! She now uses the Kindle for other things such as email and social networking, “It has completely changed how I read and connect!”

Notice, it starts with ONE technology and with the introduction of an additional possibility finds them out of their weeds. Get personal. Find something they use everyday, something that once they start using it, they can’t wait to see you and talk to you about it. Take the time to connect and listen to those weeders. But, if we don’t take the time, who will?

Tell me your stories of working with weeders and how you managed to get them on the spaceship?

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