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Image_permission_by_Unsplash_-_photographer_Jeff_SheldonOn April 22, 2017 I gave the keynote address at the Kappa Delta Pi induction for education students at my alma mater, The College of New Jersey. Those who read my blog know I often share the key points to these speaking opportunities.  My speech was on how education has evolved with educational technology (edtech) from the time I was a student to now, and how new teachers should embrace it but also be aware of a few other things. Without the detail of my time as a student here are the 5 key points from the speech with modified comments to fit the blog format and audience:

5 Ways to Make the Most of Every Moment with Our Students

The students entering Kindergarten next September will be the class of 2030. We will teach those students 900 lessons a year, each year, in a 180 day school year. That’s 11,700 lessons and 16,380 hours of school from K-12th grade. This may seem like a lot of time but it isn’t. We need to make the most of every moment we have with our students.

How do we do this?

First, as educators we need to do what we will be great at in the classroom. 

We need great educators. Being a great educator is hard work. It’s exhausting. But it should be because we are responsible for our students’ learning, their future and our future. Think about it this way… the students we are teaching today must be ready to take care of us in the future… so we better do a great job.

Find what you love to do. Find what your passion is in education, do that, and do a great job at it. Often we go into jobs or careers where we think others feel we will do a good job. Go into the job or career where you think you will do a great job. As an educator, pick the subject, grade level, or type of institution you think will help you be a great educator. And then be great!

Second, use technology to improves teaching and learning.

I’ve talked about this often, blogged about it, and instilled it in my own practice. Educators entering the field of education are experiencing an exciting time period. Things are changing fast… really fast and a lot of the change is good for students, good for teachers, and good for society. How our students learn, what they learn, and how we teach them is evolving right in front of our eyes because edtech is being integrated into teaching and learning. 

Our students are being raised with devices. It’s our job as educators to show them the educational power of these devices. Technology, student learning, and the lives of our students will be intertwined moving forward. So as educators let’s make sure the use of edtech in the classroom improves teaching and learning. Let them see and experience the positive power of edtech.

Third, imagine… try… and if you fail… try again. 

We are in a period of time in education where the possibilities for teaching and learning with edtech (and without edtech) are only limited by your ability to imagine and try new things. Don’t be afraid to image what can be for your students’ learning and your teaching. Don’t be afraid to try what you imagine.

Don’t be afraid to try and fail. Because we all do. If you fail… try again. But don’t stop imagining and never stop trying.

Every educator has the ability to make learning come alive, be engaging, and motivational. So let your imagination loose and give it a try. 

Fourth, remember education is about people.

As the world globalizes and modernizes with the integration of technology into all aspects of our lives, we need to embrace it as educators but we can’t forget that we are human. Edtech can help us make teaching and learning better, but it shouldn’t replace us as educators.

Education is a people business. We are about students, interactions, and working together. We need to make the most of every moment we have with our students.

It’s important to realize that edtech has the ability to transform learning and EDUCATORS have the ability to transform learning.

EdTech has the ability to excite learning. EDUCATORS have the ability to excite learning. Keep the human aspect in our classrooms. Our students will be grateful.

Fifth, don’t do it alone.

Education, educating our students, and learning should be a shared experience. Educators need to collaborate with other educators. If you have yet to become a connected educator find ways to connect with colleagues down the hall, across town, in your state, across the country and around the world.

Educators are connecting and sharing together through technology and social media. By doing so you will have a social media window into every connected educators’ world. As a result, you don’t need to think about being innovative for every lesson. Someone has already thought about it, developed it, done it and posted it for you to consider. If you are struggling to meet the needs of a group of students, there’s probably an educational chat or hashtag on twitter about it that can help you. Looking for great resources for a unit coming up, there’s probably a blog post about it. Want to be creative for your bulletin boards, did I ever need this, there’s a Pinterest page for it.

Let’s make the most of of every moment we have with our student.