Don't wait for the perfect moment

The how to use technology can be found rumbling in the hallways of any tech conference or rapidly racing through Twitter posts. The why use tech can be found within inspirational keynote speeches and ed tech blogs. However, the when is either harder to find or easier to ignore. Fortunately for us, Lise Galuga chose to focus on the when in her speech Op Pachyderm: Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time during the closing keynote at the 1st Annual Bakersfield GAFE Summit.

Certainly, the above concerns are valid. Strong infrastructure and continued training ensures that educators can seamlessly use technology to enhance student learning; however, a problem occurs when these concerns change the when we use technology. If we wait until the perfect moment, our students will lose out on precious learning time. What if we took advantage of the moment and increased the power of what we had in our hands?

In 2001, and again in 2004, keynote speaker Lise Galuga was a military spouse at home while her husband was deployed to Bosnia. Their conversations were restricted to 15 minutes a day, often at the most inopportune time, if her husband was not training in the field. In 2007, when her husband deployed to Afghanistan, Lise was left at home with her 18-month-old daughter. During this tour, communications were nearly non-existent as he spent most of his time “outside the wire.” They needed a new plan.

Fortunately, Lise convinced her husband to prepare a series of  simple videos of him reading stories to his daughter, singing silly songs, and talking as if she were in the room. Her husband did not have the greatest technology available, but what he did have, he used to the fullest extent possible.

As Lise shared a collage of personal videos her husband made for the family, tears silently fell in the audience.

Obviously, the next best situation to having a father hold his daughter in his arms is a live video call where both parties can speak and respond to each other. However, no one in the audience doubted that the Galuga family made an incredibly wise decision to use the technology they had available to them at that moment. Not only did they not waste precious bonding time, but they also created long lasting memories that they could replay at will.

We in the audience felt the father’s love through his voice, we heard his attempt to be strong in the face of danger, and we imagined the joy his daughter felt to have her daddy by her side, even if it was on a computer screen. Had the Galuga family waited, what would they have lost?

The when is important. We must use what little tech we have to its fullest extent while we demand better infrastructure and continued training; however, we must also take advantage of the moment and teach the students we have, not teach the students we will have. The when should be now. If not, how much precious time will we lose waiting for the perfect moment?

Thank you, Lise Galuga, for proofreading the blog for content and adding the picture. You are truly an inspiration.


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