I work in an office full of nerds.

And you’ve got to understand, the term “nerd” is one we use that is full of honor and respect. I get to travel all over the country working with teachers to help refine instruction, learning and school improvement. And much of what we do focuses on helping schools find effective ways to integrate technology. So we spend a lot of time online and get to play with lots of cool tech toys.

And what we do would be impossible without the nerds.

The amount of tech stuff the five nerds in my office know is incredible. They use words like server virtualization, real-time analytics, transact SQL and DNS redirection.

The scary thing is that I’ve hung out with them long enough that I’m beginning to understand some of it. This fact was confirmed last week when one of the tech guys off-handedly declared

you have reached the level of honorary nerd.

I couldn’t be prouder. (I think it basically means I’m smart enough to know when I need tech help but stupid enough not to know the answers.) The added bonus? I got to attend the monthly nerds meeting – held, of course, at the local BBQ joint.

Ribs and nerd talk. Tasty!

But the point is simple. I’m not an actual tech nerd. I can’t hope to know as much they do. But I try. I ask questions. I struggle with CSS and HTML. I work to find ways to use tech tools with kids.

And I don’t think we give classroom teachers enough time, money or support to do the same thing. The system rewards test scores rather than innovation. Teachers who work hard trying to find ways to use 21st century tools often find their way obstructed by filters, administrators and even other teachers.

But I can think of few things better than a teacher who earns the title of “honorary nerd.” So . . . go ahead. Use Evernote with your kids. Try BibMe. Encourage LiveBinders. Take advantage of TxtBlaster. Think about cell phone use and mobile devices like iPods.

Be a nerd. Your kids’ll thank you for it.

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