If you think all I do all day is play . . . er, I mean, work, with technology, well, you are partly right. I really do love trying out new things, but like all of you, I need to be realistic with my time. I must admit I don’t always do that. I can spend a lot of time working on something that never really amounts to much of anything . . . or does it? I think that just about everything we do has some merit, even if it is not immediately visible. Take my recent experiences in the classroom using TeamSpot.
TeamSpot is something new that Boise State has invested in to encourage collaborative face-to-face learning with computers. As more and more of our work becomes team oriented, we need to help our students make that transition, too. Instead of doing work just for the teacher, our students need to learn how to work together, solve problems, and figure it out on their own sometimes.
For my last two classes, I introduced students to TeamSpot and tried to facilitate work on collaborative activities. However, my efforts were somewhat thwarted. The first class session was cut short due to a slow network connection on downloading the software client (my fault, didn’t think of this potential problem) and the second session was put on hold due to what appeared to be an unstable wireless network connection. (The strength of TeamSpot is that it works on wireless networks, without the use of cables. For instance, students can bring their own laptops to a TeamSpot station, log on using the wireless BSU network, and then proceed to work individually and together on a team project.)
So, was my experience trying to help my students learn about how to use TeamSpot a dismal failure? Hardly! Heck, they at least now KNOW about this software and where to find it in various breakout rooms in the Interactive Learning Center. They might use it for a group project in another class, for instance. They might help someone else learn how to use it. Who knows? I may never hear about any of these results. But I do know that whatever we do with students, whether it works perfectly or not, makes an impression and gives them opportunities to grow and reflect. We can never give up.