Success is not about being in control at all times; be it as the teacher in the classroom or elsewhere. Success is generally not something you achieve on your own; it depends on joint efforts and on being able to acknowledge one’s own shortcomings in certain arenas and seek assistance. This also applies to the teacher’s role in the classroom.
Beyer Log and Øgrim (2014) discuss the continuously evolving role of the teacher in light of the new digital school environment and related requirements and aims, and how teachers might feel uncertain and even threatened by students that are more digitally competent than themselves (pp. 108-109). Yielding a degree of control is a matter of trust, of being honest enough to recognize that at times others (including students) are more skilled in technical matters.
Of course, if a teacher is to implement a new solution in the classroom, she or he has to get acquainted with the basics; it never hurts to review the user manual and the FAQs in advance. But is it necessary to be an expert on all digital platforms in use in the classroom at all times? Of course not – there’s always help to be had. If you’re honest about your own skills, and there are digitally competent students in class who can contribute, one shouldn’t hesitate to employ them as assistants.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” (Steve Maraboli, “Life, the Truth and Being Free”).
The willingness to help and support one another is basically human (and should always be supported!), and involving the “IT wizards” will allow them to demonstrate their competence and shine in the classroom. There’s nothing to feel threatened about – the worst one can do is to present oneself as always being in control, as an “oracle”, as students will expose you faster than the speed of light. Yielding control in some areas is about empowering others, it’s about complementing each other and succeeding as a team.
In the game show “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”, one of the options available for contestants is to phone a friend. If teachers are willing to place that call, it’s likely that they will find that they have many friends in the classroom – and without losing face.
Beyer Log, I., & Øgrim, L. (2014). Wiki i klasserommet – læreren uten kontroll? In T. H. Giæver, M. Johannesen, & L. Øgrim (Eds.), Digital praksis i skolen (pp. 107-119). Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.
Frankieleon. I’m kind of busy. Downloaded 14 March 2016. Online image. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/5542351756/