Many, many years ago, in my first incarnation as a teacher, I attended a workshop on learning styles at our region educational center. I don't remember every workshop I've attended--teachers will attest to the number of meetings that end up being deep-sixed in our brains and trashcans--but this one seems to come to mind often. The speaker began by asking how many of us made it to the workshop that morning (of course, we all raised a hand, looking confused at the question). She then went on to tell us that we were already more successful than x percent of the people who set out that morning for work, but didn't make it on time or at all due to traffic, accidents, flat tires, or health-related issues. We had already experienced success just by being in that room at that time.
We then went on to take a Myers-Briggs assessment to learn about our own personality profile, and used that information to discuss how it affects our individual learning and teaching. We tend to teach the way we learn--which is great for students who possess similar Myers-Briggs traits, but not necessarily so for those who don't. The point of the workshop was to make us aware of our teaching styles, and learn how to stretch ourselves to reach those students who learn differently--metacognition for teachers.
Why is this coming to mind so early on a summer morning? Because I'm getting ready to attend three days of iPadpalooza to learn how to use my newest tech tool, courtesy of the Next Gen Digital Classroom program in our school district. I am a latecomer to the iPad party, having just gotten a personal tablet of my own as a Christmas gift--and an Android one, at that. With the exception of my children's iPhones and my college-daughter's Mac that she uses for her media studies, we are a PC/Android family, and so Apple products are outside the realm of my learning experience.
I've spent the last two weeks learning how to navigate the iPad on my own, with some success--I did make my first iMovie (a book trailer, of course). I finally figured out how to open up a new window in Safari (oh! that's what the plus sign is for!). I downloaded the app for the conference so that I can access my workshop agenda without toting around a pile of papers.
I'm just hoping for success in navigating the traffic for the next three days to get to the conference on time, and for teachers who acknowledge my lack of knowledge when it comes to this new-to-me technology. I want to walk away with my brain buzzing with ideas for iPad use in the library (we will have 32 of them, next year).
I want to remember this feeling when it comes to teaching my students, so that I remember to stretch myself as a teacher to meet their learning styles.