I’m sitting in the Wichita airport, waiting on a delayed flight to Houston. With the rain pouring down, I start looking for things to do. Read the paper. Watch a little video. Catch up on email. Clean out my backpack.
I usually try and make some decisions about what to put into the backpack before I leave. I ran out out of time before this trip. And I’m realizing now why it’s a good idea to re-pack after every trip. I got some stuff in there I really don’t need this time.
It’s always difficult trying to decide what to take on a trip and what to leave behind. I really, really hate carrying too much stuff. Seriously. Hate it. But I also worry about all of those times when I needed some little tech gadget on a trip and I had left it behind.
So. What to pack?
There are some non-negotiables. Always, always pack a Verizon modem for those places where the Internet access is bad or doesn’t exist or blocks my Airplay or my favorite apps. Extra earbuds. Extra power cables. VGA adapters for computer and iPad. Small LED flashlight. Bag of quarters for pop machines. Keynote clicker / remote.
Along with laptop, phone, and iPad, this list can usually get me through most situations.
But I think teaching in the classroom is a bit like this. There is always a question of what to take along on the trip. What tech makes the cut? What technology should we be using in our classrooms?
I think we often don’t think about this enough. We worry about standards. We worry about content. We worry about textbooks (way too much). But it seems like we don’t often worry about the technology we and our students are going to use while we mess with all of that stuff. And we should.
I had the chance to spend three days last week at Podstock 2013 – our annual tech conference in Wichita, Kansas. And it was great talking with and listening to nerdy teachers from all over the country share their tech non-negotiables. I know not everyone has the same level of access to computers and other sorts of tech but I still believe that there are some things that social studies teachers should always have in their tech “travel bag.”
- Access to the National Archives, Library of Congress, Teaching History, Stanford History Education Group, and other handy websites
- Some way to project images and primary sources for your students
- Accounts at Youtube, Dropbox, Twitter, Diigo, and Facebook
- An understanding of video games and mobile apps (and how to use them in the classroom)
- A texting account like Celly to connect with students and parents
I’m curious. What do you got? What are your classroom tech non-negotiables?