10 Tips From Einstein to Implement Technology In Your Classroom

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On a previous blog I owned, I posted an article from DumbLittleMan.com called Ten Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn From Albert Einstein. The link is no longer valid to the original article but I remember thinking about it and I couldn’t help but start applying those tidbits of wisdom to employing technology in the classroom. So with apologies to DumbLittleMan I present for you Ten Amazing Tips from Einstein to Implement Technology into the Classroom.

1. Follow Your Curiosity

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

Let me propose a simple question. Do we allow our students time to follow their curiosity when involved in an IT lesson?

Are we so consumed as educators to meet outcomes and tick boxes of student achievement that we actually fail to provide them with the opportunity to make mistakes and explore a program or application to its fullest extent? I often will model certain features of a program and then let them explore further, with a goal in mind.

I remember teaching a group of Year Fours who were working on Keynote. Some were quite advanced, others were novices. I showed the grade a few key features related to the task. That week it was hyperlinks, themes and pictures. I did a basic ‘how to’ lesson on putting those elements in a presentation. Their goal was to create a 5 or 6-page ‘webpage’ that was linked, with each page having a different topic and picture. That was it. I sent them off and before the end of the lesson we had shown and covered so much more. One student had worked out how to make a picture into a star shape and he had great delight in sharing this knowledge with his peers on the IWB. We also looked at borders around the hyperlinks and different colours. Most of those were lessons that other students gave the class. By the end of our time, we had covered far more than I anticipated, and the students had first-hand knowledge of trying new things – all sparked by curiosity.

2. Perseverance is Priceless

“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

If ‘perseverance is priceless’ then why are we so eager to do the work for our students, especially the younger ones. I was at an in-service at the start of the year and heard the following quote directed towards parents – ‘Don’t steal an opportunity for learning from your child.’ I thought, what an apt phrase for some teachers. The facilitator was talking about parents meddling in with a child’s project at home and that they were literally robbing and stealing from the child an opportunity for the child to persevere and stay with the problem.

When working with IT see if the child can solve the problem. I know that 90% of my IT knowledge has been gained simply because I had to learn from doing. I didn’t have my dad to help. We only got our first (third hand) computer when I was in Year 12 and it was a necessary item for University. I learnt a lot on that machine, and I’m grateful that it’s helped me to stick a problem out.

3. Focus on the Present

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

As an educational technology writer I come across a LOT of resources that I simply don’t have the time to try let alone write about. But I did come across an article (and I didn’t bookmark it) that was very helpful. It said to try one thing, for one week with one class. So often with IT we want our students and ourselves to avail of everything on offer. We simply need to come to the realization that we can’t do that. We have to do what works for us, our students and the time afforded by all. Focus on what you’re doing, do it well and give it all the attention it deserves.

Einstein Genius TV Series

4. The Imagination is Powerful

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Don’t let the kids you teach be limited by what’s been done in the past. If they want to try something on a computer let them. Without imagination and a crazy idea formed within, we wouldn’t have Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Let them use their imaginations because that leads into the next point….

5. Make Mistakes

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

One thing that we need to teach our students and our colleagues is that a mistake does not mean failure. A teacher should allow mistakes in the classroom, and allow students the freedom of discovering a better way to learn through mistakes. Next time that document isn’t saved, don’t blow a fuse at the student. Guide them through the path of learning.

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6. Live in the Moment

“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”

I would take the angle on this one that educators want the latest and the greatest for their students and their classrooms. A great goal and one that is certainly deserved. However, I know of educators who get so caught up in wanting a better, updated application, or a better support and infrastructure system. I know – I’ve been there griping about it too. However, no matter the amount of griping that I do about the changes I want to see take place in the future, it won’t change the fact that I have students to educate today, with the equipment I have today.

Einstein book by Walter Isaacson

7. Create Value

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

Make your lessons valuable to your students. Will they walk out of your classroom with new skills that are going to help them?

8. Don’t Expect Different Results

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Our approach to technology integration must change. Educators must be flexible to adapt to the needs of their students. From my point of view, I am teaching a completely different set of skills to my students than I did two or three years ago. Technology is changing exponentially in its ability. Teachers must do the same. Einstein is encouraging us to adapt to teach social media, digital citizenship, online applications, blogs, wikis and more.

9. Knowledge Comes From Experience

“Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

I like this because it ties so neatly in with points one and two. Without those two points that provide experience there can be no true knowledge. The old Chinese adage, “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand”, is true. We must involve our students in their learning so that they can understand the knowledge of the concept we want them to learn.

10. Learn the Rules and Then Play Better

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

To be a successful teacher, you must learn what your colleages are doing. It is a commitment to becoming the best educator you can be. PLNs via local networks, Twitter, LinkedIn – all serve as a vital part of your professional development. Educators owe it to their students to be a player in the game; we must immerse ourselves in the world of our students and know the technology that they are using in their everyday life. We should learn from them, but we shouldn’t be surprised by them.


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