Are We Going All in For Our Students?

Have you been watching Jeopardy lately?  James Holzhauer, a Professional Sports gambler, has crossed the Million Dollar mark in an epic run.   I'm a huge triva nerd and it has been amazing to watch him win. Well, not just win, absolutely obliterate his competition. He always starts with the hardest questions first then begins a strategic search for Daily Doubles, which when he finds he usually doubles his winnings. He's also a walking Wikipedia. It's amazing how well rounded his knowledge is. He has stated that his weakness is Pop Culture and television but he has been killing  that  as well. He says that he studies and researches non stop. . . . The Atlantic  claims that before James became a father he was studying 30-70 hours a day. It is paying off and paying off big time.  It's amazing to watch. I just feel bad for people, like me, who probably have been waiting their whole life to be on Jeopardy and get to say, "What is Smokey and the Bandit" or "What is Dale Murphy" (my dream even if those are not the right answer) BUT they know that they will probably lose to someone who has just won $137,000  to your 500 dollars.  Sometimes I wonder if he actually knows his  stuff or "know" his stuff.  If he was asked to elaborate on a Jeopardy question could he do it? Or is he just memorizing facts.

So what does this have to do with using technology in your classroom? I've been enjoying  watching and reading about  this guy over the last couple of weeks.  I started to think about his strategy.  He has stated that he takes calculated risks. James Holzhauer is very confident, and he goes all in on things that he is passionate about.  Are we taking calculated risks in technology? Do we try new things with our students that can enhance their learning knowing that maybe someone forgets a charger, or may not be on the same page as me? Do we go all in on things that are students are passionate about? Are we creating new experiences that could not be used without the use of Chromebooks? Or are we using our chromebooks  to lookup and regurgitate facts. Let's look at an example.
    I spent many years  teaching 7th Grade Social Studies.  My background is Special Education and I was a collaborator and also taught my on Direct segment to students with intellectual disabilities. Part  of our  curriculum was  about analyzing continuity and change in Africa and also learning about the Geography of Africa.  On the surface I could say something like , "Ok y'all, Google Apartheid" find 3 facts that you find interesting and report back. . . (I was guilty of that if you are wondering. My students were not engaged and did not learn a whole lot at first . .I adjusted my strategy)  OR, if I had chromebooks in my classroom I could use a tool like Flipgrid, or Google Docs for our students to collaborate and share their knowledge. Or  use tools like Twitter or Google Hangouts in Education to find schools in South Africa to collaborate and learn and get different perspectives.  For my students who needed an "anchor" we could tour South Africa  or use Google Maps or Youtube 360 videos . . . For my students with reading deficits they could use  our Texthelp subscription to hear stories and texts read aloud so they could have a better understanding and remove a barrier. It could look a little different for everybody!   Our students have the ability to learn the way they learn best! Will this be messy? it will. Will I be the sole provider of instruction? Nope but my students are getting a deeper understanding. Does it mean that they need to be on their device all the time? Absolutely not. But because of calculated risks that I provide for my students they will get a greater understanding of the curriculum.  Please let me know if you have questions.
      If you made it this far. .. Here is not 1 BUT 10 hours of the Jeopardy theme. If you were wondering that would amass to 1,200 wins. Which is not out of line for  my man James.


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