Tech Integration: It’s a lot like a marathon…

Except there’s no finish line.

I’m a huge marathon runner wanna-be…

The Boston Marathon has come and gone. #Bostonstrong is no longer trending. I however, continue to think about the 35,000+ runners who trained for this year’s race. I keep thinking about the hours of training, preparation, commitment and sacrifices the runners went through. I place these people on a pedestal. And frankly, I envy them. As far as I’m concerned, any person who can run 26 miles has super-human strength. To run a marathon is a distant, vague, personal fitness goal I’ve set for myself. I don’t know if I’ll ever accomplish it. For the time being, I’m preparing mentally to start training  to run my second half marathon. I’m about four and a half months out. So I guess, in a way, I kinda, sorta, know what it’s like to train for a marathon.

I won’t compare the training I went through to run a half marathon to the level of training required to run a full. As a former sprinter, I still can’t believe I ran 13 miles. I honestly don’t know what possessed me to start training for a half in the first place, but I did it back in 2009. My goal time was two hours.

I did it in an hour and forty minutes.

That’s probably why I haven’t run one since. But, I’m excited (and scared) to start training once again. My life will drastically change once I get on a training schedule. And when I think about this mix of emotions, I think about what it’s like to try new technology in the classroom.

It’s scary, but it’s exciting. With practice, you get better at it. But to improve (to get a faster time) you have to constantly keep pushing. If you don’t, you won’t see any results. You will plateau. I see five distinct parallels between training for a half (or any other type of fitness event) and technology integration:

1. It’s hard.
2. It requires hours of practice.
3. It requires lots of support from others.
4. It requires continuous change and experimentation and above all else…
5. It requires setting goals.

It’s Hard:
Trying new technology in the classroom is hard. If anyone tells you otherwise, they  are lying.

It Requires Hours of Practice:
To become “good” at integrating technology requires hours and hours of practice, which means, failing over and over again until you get “perfect” results.

It Requires Lots of Support From Others:
This is why an educator needs constant support and encouragement from their colleagues both in and outside of their building. Support from a PLN, whether it be on Twitter, Google+, through Edmodo or LinkedIn groups, or through attending Edcamps and other types of professional development, is critical.

It Requires Continuous Change and Experimentation:
Once you get “comfortable” with a technology tool, time to move on and try something new and different. That’s part of the learning process for teachers and for students.

It Requires Setting Goals:
October 5, 2014. Is race day.

What’s your goal?

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