Lessons Learned from “Living it Like a Student”

As I reflect on this week of living my work world with the same level of access that our students are asked to each day I am pleasantly refreshed.  This disruption has helped me learn things about myself, my work, and most importantly how I can guide students and staff as they continue to grow and learn in a digital world.

Flexibility in Thinking

There were a few times this week where workflows I had anticipating working didn’t work as planned.  Instead of just giving up and going to my laptop I explored other ways to access what I wanted to do.  For example, I knew I couldn’t access drafts in Google Classroom in the app, but when I went to the web-based version I realized that I could access the drafts and post the information. This flexibility in thinking helped me to see the possibilities, which is what we want our students to do.  As I go into classrooms to work with students I am continuously enlightened by the way students see roadblocks in workflows as opportunities to think of things in a different way from a different angle.  I have learned so much from them.

Does our Mindset or our Skillset Get in our Way?

It is interesting because people think that it is my skillset around using an iPad that makes these tasks seamless.  The truth of the matter is there are times I have a partial idea of exactly how to complete a task.  It is my mindset that pushes me to new thinking.  I think about how we might figure this out rather than go back to what I am used to.  This uncomfortable feeling of not knowing is where I need to push myself to figure it out.  That is where the learning happens.  As I work with students and staff I want to encourage them to push them through the uncomfortable to new learning.

What is weighing us down?

For the past three weeks I have had pain in my right shoulder.  In fact, it worried me quite a bit.  By Tuesday the pain was gone.  My shoulders have not been as tense as they typically are.  Why is that?  At first, I thought it was because of the weight of the laptop in my backpack.  Now, I am not so sure.  Is there stress in my laptop I wasn’t aware of?  Is it the way I sit at my desk when I am working?  So many wondering questions.  This is a place I continue to monitor.

Disrupt Your Routine

This week has shown me the importance of disrupting your routine.  Using the iPad as my main device has made me look at things differently.  I have learned about workflows I didn’t know.  I have said many times I will learn that during my “free time”.  The fact is, there isn’t any time.  By disrupting my routine I did it naturally rather than learn it in isolation.  I want to encourage staff to try this disruption, even for just a meeting or a day.  The disruption brings curiosity, stretching beyond your comfort zone, and looking at things from a new perspective.  This leads to learning and growing, plus it will give an opportunity to problem solve like a student would do in the classroom.

Am I able to use an iPad for my day-to-day work?  For the most part, yes.  There are a few tasks that I need to go to a computer, but not as many as I thought (mindset).  Moving forward I am planning to go to my iPad first more often than before.  My reliance on my laptop is not as necessary as I thought.  I also plan to have a laptop free week more often, possibly once a month.  This way I can experience life the way our students do because they are who we serve.  I need to know what it is like to learn in the access they have.  It is an honor and a duty I have to give them the dynamic learning experience they deserve.

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