It's certainly been a challenging year. However there are some key takeaways from it all. Here's Jon Smith's take on what he's learnt over the past 12 months.
What a year (and a few months) it has been. Wow. I never would have thought we would still be dealing with a pandemic but here we are. It has been a year unlike any other. During the pandemic I have given roughly 600 webinars 🤯 to teachers around the world and I’ve learned a few things I’d like to share with you.
Teachers are stressed out!
As a former technology integration teacher I never would have had "pandemic" on the bingo card of things that would move teachers forward with technology. Never.
I tried many things to get teachers interested in technology and for many of them, using the same ideas and tools was just fine. Well, the introduction of a pandemic into the mix and suddenly everyone was thrust into the world of digital teaching and learning whether they wanted it or not.
This created a HUGE amount of stress on teachers, students and parents. How do we do things digitally? What happens if we don’t have enough devices? How do I start a Zoom/Google Hangout/Skype call?
Take that stress and add to it the fact that teachers were now working from home with their families in the room next door.
As a side note, when I started working for Book Creator almost two years ago it took me nearly 6 months to figure out how to work from home alone!
When was my lunch break? 🍽
What should I wear? 👔
Can I leave my house to run an errand? 🏃🏽♂️
Once I figured out how to be alone and manage my day, the pandemic hit and all three of my children (10, 7 and 4) as well as my wife, were home with me 24/7. To say the least, I understand stress. So do all of you.
Despite all of the stress, I have seen amazing things from teachers and an amazing willingness to do what was necessary for their students. ✨
Teachers need help!
The second thing I learned during the pandemic: teachers need help.
When a pandemic forces teachers and students into a digital life they may not have been ready for, questions arise. Technology departments, instructional coaches and colleagues were thrust into a world where help was needed more than ever.
I know this first hand because of the amount of webinars I completed in the last 15 months. Teachers were craving new ideas, new tools and more. There were days when I conducted webinars as early as 5am and as late as 9pm 😴
Guess what? There were ALWAYS teachers there. They craved help and were willing to show up to get it. You can view all of our webinars on our YouTube channel.
When I was a technology integration specialist, time was always a concern for teachers. During the pandemic teachers have been given the opportunity to participate in much more PD than they normally would. I hope this continues as it was refreshing to see so many teachers attending webinars and learning new things.
Easy. Always. Wins.
When teachers are stressed, when parents are stressed and when kids are stressed one idea holds true. Easy always wins!
Teachers and students are using technology more than ever and when this is the case, technology shouldn’t get in the way of the learning. Book Creator does just that. Within minutes of signing up for an account, teachers can be up and running. 10 minutes from then, students can be making books. It’s amazing to see the power in simplicity.
🎉 As a bonus, not only is Book Creator easy to use, but kids will be motivated to continue making books long after the assignment is over. Kids will crave Book Creator and it becomes a touchdown moment for teachers.
Book Creator is also amazingly fun. I’ve gotten many emails from teachers expressing how much kids love Book Creator. The number of tweets and messages shared with dancing children is refreshing ⬇️
Kids wanting to write the day before Spring Break? These 5th graders wanted to keep working on their 1st Book Creator books instead of playing a game! Thanks @OceanportPTO and @BookCreatorApp for the win. @OPSchoolsNJ @MattHowell_11 @MrsLisotto pic.twitter.com/jekzGZ4S0H— MrsBelinski@mp (@belinski_mrs) March 26, 2021
These authors organized themselves during free choice time at the end of the day to write a new series of books on @BookCreatorApp ... then came back to virtual office hours AFTER they went home so they could work together on it even more! 🤩📚#pattiepanthers #passion #enthusiasm pic.twitter.com/a0gxtKKDaF— Megan Martin (@missmartin723) March 4, 2021
OK, so I hope you enjoyed reading my post and can relate to some of the things I shared. What next?
- Will you create an account and jump right in?
- Why not complete the Book Creator certification course and learn more?
- Sign up to one of my upcoming webinars?
The choice is yours but I can guarantee you one thing..you and your students will love Book Creator ❤️
Please share your next steps on social media platforms and make sure to tag us!
Jon Smith is currently the Senior Teacher Success Manager for Book Creator and an Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2015. Jon was a special education teacher for 12 years before spending 7 years as a Technology Integration Specialist. He is married with 3 children. Jon is a scratch golfer. In his spare time, he details cars.