Friday, October 23, 2015

Plan B

One of the most exciting parts of my position is when I get to sit down with a teacher who is fired-up about a unit or lesson they want to do with their class.

Teachers come to me either with an idea they want to implement, or looking for ideas. I was drawn to my current role because I love working with teachers and helping to give them the tools to make their ideas a reality.

a reminder for my students last year -- northern Japan is cold

A few weeks ago I was approached with an innovative idea to use Minecraft in an elementary math class. The teacher had found a resource with a lesson that integrated area, perimeter, and order of operations. It was a really interesting lesson idea, and I was excited to make this happen. I wanted the teachers to try it out before it hit the classroom, so I offered to teach an after school club so the teachers could try it before they used it.

Here's what I did ...
  • I spoke with the Director of Learning Technology and got the OK to set up a server
  • I spoke with the systems analyst to make sure that he could set up a server
  • I signed myself up to do an after school Minecraft club so I could test it out for the teachers and see what it is like to integrate lessons with it

Here's what I didn't do ...
  • I didn't ask what the teachers would do if they couldn't use it on the Chromebooks in their rooms. They are both 1:1, and I assumed everything would be OK. Minecraft doesn't run on a Chromebook.
  • I didn't ask who would be involved. I was only approached by 1 teacher, so I assumed this was a one class project. It was a team effort.

In my own excitement to see Minecraft in action,  I was blind to alternate outcomes. I could only see the one where everything worked out the way I envisioned it.

When I emailed the teacher to say that Minecraft doesn't work on Chromebooks, the house of cards came tumbling down, and the project was put on hold. Naturally because the readily available computers in the classroom couldn't be used, the plan fell apart. I would have done the same thing had it been my own classroom.

I rushed to tell my boss to hold off on the Minecraft server not wanting to be responsible for wasted money.

All this could have been avoided if I had asked what Plan B and Plan C were. If I had thought through a little more and put my own emotions aside, I may have thought about other possible outcomes.

As it turned out, everything fell into place this time, but I am going to keep in mind to always ask about Plan B.

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