Technology is like Pasta - OECTA Tech Summit #GYHOOYA17 | Toronto Teacher Mom

Technology is like Pasta - OECTA Tech Summit #GYHOOYA17

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Technology is like Pasta - OECTA Tech Summit #GYHOOYA17

Last weekend, I had the good fortune of attending OECTA’s Technology Summit: Get Your Head Out of Your Apps, A Practical look at Integrating Technology in the Classroom. The event took place at the Hilton Markham Suites and provided OECTA members from across the province two days of invaluable professional development and networking. Initially, I was a little disappointed that a two-day conference would offer a mere three sessions of workshops from which to choose. However, after listening to our first keynote speaker Anthony Carabache, Secretariat Professional Development at OECTA, I had one of those rare "aha!" moments.

The general premise of Anthony's keynote was based on an article he wrote earlier this year: Technology = Flour, Eggs, Salt and Water? In it, he compares technology in the classroom to pasta. Yes, you read that correctly. How on earth is technology like pasta? Anthony identifies four categories: workflow tools, creation tools, documentation tools and interactive tools. Whether you choose one type of workflow tool over another, for example, makes very little difference. It has everything to do with how you use it. The same can be said for pasta; whether you choose linguine over fettuccine, pasta is just pasta until you add the sauce. Hence, what I call the Pasta Paradigm. If you have a minute and a half to spare, turn on the volume and watch this brief video of Anthony delivering his epic poem during his keynote:

Now, I'm no gourmet chef by any means but man, can I whip up a tasty pasta aglio e oglio! It's my go-to dish for last minute dinners as long as I have fresh garlic on hand and some Parmeggiano-Reggiano. And so, when Anthony suggested we pick one edtech tool to use in the classroom, one to focus on and master like I mastered that pasta recipe, it was then that I felt a weight had lifted from my shoulders. So often, we, as teachers, feel compelled to keep up with all the latest innovations and, when we fail at this impossible task, we give up or rely on drive-thru solutions for the sake of saying, "Hey, I used technology in class today!"

When I reflect on my experience at OECTA's Technology Summit and how there were only three workshop sessions, I realize that it tied in perfectly with Anthony's message and the general theme of the conference. It's time we get our head out of our apps and focus on the end goal. Throughout my career, I have attended countless conferences and so often leave with a brain full of amazing ideas but so overwhelmed by them all, I don't know where to start. This time, it's different. Inspired by a workshop facilitated by Steven Floyd, I am planning on integrating some coding activities into my primary French classes using Scratch Jr. Can you tell I'm just a tad excited?

Sometimes I feel like Dug the dog in Disney Pixar's "Up". A new tech toy pops up in my Twitter stream and I am instantly distracted. As much as I would love to be an early adopter of all things edtech, I realize now that I need to re-evaluate my priorities and adopt the design thinking process, as highlighted in Dr. Camille Rutherford's keynote, in order to truly innovate the way I teach.

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  1. That's a great key message, to allow a few core principles guide what tools are used!

  2. So interesting. Technology is growing so rapidly and it's important to keep up with students.

  3. wow that is such a great and different way to look at it ! never would have thought to tie in technology and pasta like that

  4. Interesting comparison and it certainly simplifies things!

  5. I do like your space mission. How cool would that be?

  6. I'd probably not follow half of what was said, I'm a dead loss at technology, as my kids always tell me - two of them are in IT so they do have an advantage but even my grandkids 6 & 9 yrs old are better than me :-(

  7. This is such an interesting way of approaching coding in a way that would translate easier to children.


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