Have you hugged an EDTC 3123 student today?

Momentum is definitely picking up this week in the EDTC 3123 Applications of Educational Technology courses in which students seeking teacher certification explore the processes of learning new technologies and then using them as a means to facilitate effective instruction. A quick glance in Willard 007, and you will see clusters of students gather at computers where they collaboratively design instruction using such tools as Google Docs and Diigo. These peer teaching teams work to complete a framework for a complete lesson in which they will teach their peers a week’s worth of course content and the use of a new technology tool.

As I survey these hard-working students in my own section of the course, I feel sympathy for them knowing they carry the burden of a full course load which they must balance with successfully completing and executing the considerable project I just assigned them.

Then I consider the reason they elected to take the course in the first place. These students are pledging themselves to the front lines of our field. In as little as two semesters, many of these students will be solely responsible for the management of a classroom and the efficient design and delivery of instruction to a body of students. At the moment, they share the task of planning a two-hour lesson with two to three of their peers, a lesson they will be able to teach without the strain of managing student behavior. In a matter of months, they alone could be required to plan for and teach as many as seven or eight complete lessons in a single day. Their planning times will give them a space to take a quick breath and begin to tackle a stack of papers in need of grading or next week’s lesson plans, but before they have gotten far in either task, instruction will have begun anew. The mountain of paperwork they had to set aside will be stuffed in a tote bag and lugged home where it could keep them up until after midnight. After five or six hours of sleep (if they are so fortunate), they will wake up, return to the classroom, and start it all again.

Contemplating these eventualities, any wisps of guilt I may have felt for assigning these peer teaching projects swiftly evaporate. We’re living the good ol’ days!

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