Put Your Finger to the Saw? How much to you trust your technology?

Niagara Water Falls - Horseshoe Falls, CanadaImage via WikipediaThe Great Blondin was the first person to walk across Niagara falls on a tightrope. At first the crowds came out on droves. Then, it became just “old hat.” So, to liven up his act, he asked the crowd one day, “how many of you believe that I can walk a man across in a wheelbarrow” – everyone raised their hand eager to see him do it.

OK, “who wants to do it?”

No. one. No one.  Finally, his manager put his faith in the Great Blondin into action and hopped in the wheelbarrow. He made it.

It is easy to have faith — for others. I love it when someone goes through a struggle. You have cancer and everyone says, “you're going to be ok.” Well, that is fine for them, they don't have to face the chemo and all that goes with it.

But we do this with technology all the time.  Oh, just do this, or do that – it will improve your test scores.

But do we REALLY believe it.

Talk is cheap. Give me action.

Putting your finger to the saw?
OK, this video almost makes me sick. The inventor of the SawStop, a device that stops sawblades before cutting off your finger. After first demonstrating with a sawblade and a hotdog, he then USES HIS FINGER. Yes, putting his finger to the blade, literally, he tests the sawstop with his finger!

Fortunately it works.

Here is the question.

You believe that technology can improve education. You think it can help students become more engaged. Will you put your finger to the blade and DO IT in your classrooms?

So many times at conferences I meet people so excited about the potential of technology but full of excuses for why they cannot use it.  This or that or the other.

You can't do everything but you can do something.

If it works, DO IT! If it doesn't, FORGET ABOUT IT.

But let's stop talking and start doing. Let's put our finger to the blade. I've done it in my classroom with carefully selected technologies that fit with research based best practices that are proven. When planned and done well, it works.

That being said, some technologies aren't trustworthy – some websites aren't either. Know the trustworthy ones – test them, use them. Use what works but please, let's don't just talk about it.

Lip service is like room service that never leaves the kitchen. Lots of promises but nothing to fill the belly.

Let's do this!

Remember your noble calling, Teacher!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Cum4tlynum December 26, 2010 - 11:41 am

to hell with you teachers that only work for the union and could care less about the kids. I want the stop saw it works unlike you so called theachers

Mariaskifast December 30, 2010 - 1:19 pm

I am currently taking a class on adding additional technology to my classroom. So in effect I am putting my finger to the saw. The assignment was to find a blog, add it to my Reader, post a comment, and add a link to my blog. Horrors! where am I supposed to find the time? It is hard to add something new to our teaching, but I am encouraged by your enthusiam. so here goes. I look forward to reading additional thoughts on this subject. Thank you! By the way, I am our building rep for the union working to improve conditions for our students AND teachers!

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