Classroom Technology and Raw Chicken: My text to self connection

Go back in time with me if you will… to a time when a new invention, the microwave started to hit the mainstream market.  I remember the day that I was first introduced to this new technology.  I was sitting in my grandma’s kitchen with my grandparents and great aunts and uncles.  My grandma had just got her first microwave (a gigantic box the size of a small car) and everyone was gathered around it staring.  Or at least all of the adults were staring at it, some in awe, saying this would change the way we cook forever, some in horror, saying microwaves would kill us all, all those “waves” in the air.  I just remember wondering what all the fuss was about. 

My grandma decided to demonstrate how this “fancy new invention” worked to the enraptured audience.  Before turning it on she placed a cup of water in the microwave, saying that this would prevent it from exploding and killing us all.  On that day the microwave entered my life, a technology that was made scary by the adults who introduced it to me.

A few weeks later my mom and dad proudly introduced us to our own personal microwave (again a box the size of a small car).  This time in addition to the microwave which must always contain a cup of water (just in case it turned on by itself) we also had a cookbook.  This cookbook contained every recipe you would ever need converted into microwave friendly language.  It was a veritable silver bullet for microwave cooking.  My mom promised that between the cookbook and our new microwave, the stove would now be obsolete in our house.  Never again would she have to stand in front of a hot stove or heat up the whole house with the oven.  From roasts to cookies the microwave could do it all and the cookbook would be our guide with it’s easy to follow steps.  Everything we would eat would come from this wonderful new technology. 

Oh what excitement, what joy we experienced as night after night we were presented with meals ranging from raw looking “roast chicken” to bread pudding (I wouldn’t recommend).  Some recipes were pretty good but for the most part I began coming very cautiously to the dinner table.  After a while mom sick of microwave cooking, put the cookbook back into the cupboard, and started using the stove.  Oh it was so good to see real roast chicken again and all of our other favorite dishes.  Now does this mean she never used the microwave again… no just the opposite she began to use it all the time, but not for everything.  She had somehow gotten to a point where she knew when the technology would work beautifully and when it was better to use something else to cook our food.  She learned that it really depended on what you were cooking.  When she knew what she wanted she could choose the technology/appliance that would get her the desired product.  Not necessarily the quickest way but the way that would create the best quality product.   

Now as an adult I wouldn’t dream of not having a microwave in my kitchen. It works great for defrosting meat, steaming vegetables, heating up milk for my favorite Chai Latte.  All these things and more I do in the microwave without even thinking about it.  The technology is seamlessly integrated into my life and the lives of my kids, who have no memory of a time before microwaves.

For many teachers the new technology in our classrooms is a lot like the new technology of the microwave.  Some teachers are saying it will change the classroom forever and some want nothing to do with it.  Many teachers are looking for the “cookbook” of easy step by step instructions so that they can plunge in and try every recipe in the book with their students.  I am sure that if they are able to find a “cookbook” to follow some recipes will work and some will not.  One thing is for sure, it scares the adults way more than the students.

In the end the hope will be that we can all learn when to use technology and when to not…and when we do use technology what technology to use.  We need to be able to think about what our end goals are for our students, choose the path that will help them reach those goals, and create the best possible opportunities within our classrooms and schools.  This is a journey that will not always be smooth, and we might have some truly awful meals at the technology table, but it is important that we keep trying, keep searching for the balance.  As educators we need to take this technology journey for ourselves and for our students because like the microwave oven, classroom technology is here to stay!!

14 thoughts on “Classroom Technology and Raw Chicken: My text to self connection”

  1. You have me trying to remember the intro of the microwave at our house. My mom, being a working mother, quickly gave it a whirl. I really don’t remember much about it. Looking back, it seems our house was one of the first of my friends’ and families’ houses to have one. I too remember the “let’s try every. recipe” phase and it wasn’t a good time. I guess I am in that phase in my tech learning right now too. Now to begin to find he best times to use it.

  2. I love your connection, and I think that you make a wonderful point here! Classroom technology is here to stay, and it’s important that we all embrace, for the children certainly are.

    Another awesome blog post! Can’t wait to read your next one!

  3. I remember the introduction of the microwave, and the touch-tone phone, and the remote control television, and the computer… Then, as now, I was the one who wanted to jump right in and give it a whirl. I have always been one who is excited by something new and excited by the possibilities offered by new technology. But, I also remember my mom checking, double-checking, and checking again the microwave to make sure that it didn’t explode! I remember her not using the microwave to cook food for a very long time, but simply to reheat it. That is how some teachers use tech now a days… to simply “reheat” what they are already doing. I’m hoping that with time, we can get those “reheaters” to try a few recipes, and maybe even create a few recipes of their own! Thanks for the great analogy!

    1. What a great connection…the reheating idea. You are so right that many of us think we are using technology within our classrooms are just skimming the surface of it’s potential. We are using it in the easiest way possible to get the quickest results. I think that true integration will begin to occur when we move beyond the reheating stage, and begin to use technology to transform that way we teach and more imporantly the way our students learn. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Wow! I love your new blog and I love the story of the microwave. You remind us all how powerful stories are in conveying our main ideas to our readers. I love that you share your connections here and I am inspired to work on my writing by reading yours. Thanks for a wonderful post..so many great comments so far as well!

  5. Great comparison. I love the cup of water part because I remember being told, “make sure something is in there” too. Remember your first VCR and could your parents operate it? Ha! IFast forward to a tear ago when I got my iTouch. I was thinking, “now what do you do with this thing” Great post and keep up the good work.


    1. My biggest fear is that one day I will not be able to operate the technology around me, or worse yet I will be too scared to try. I truly hope that day never comes. Thanks for your comment.

  6. A very thought provoking analogy, thanks. You really hit the nail on the head when you said,” When she knew what she wanted she could choose the technology/appliance that would get her the desired product. Not necessarily the quickest way but the way that would create the best quality product.”

    I was blown away to discover that my cousin’s 91 year old aunt recently gave him her new gmail address. There will always be people that are more apt to embrace change and others that may continue to fear change. Being fearful and uncomfortable with technology is such an inhibiting factor for some. How do we encourage those resistant to change to step out of their comfort zone?

  7. Hello Jennifer,

    Look at you starting your own blog and writing in July! I like many before me in the comment section loved the analogy and it brought memories of the “small car” being brought into my house by my dad with my mom being one of those fearful resistors.
    As you stated in your final thought “as educators we have to take that journey ourselves” I would add that as leaders within a system or a school we have to be the one hauling in the “small cars” to model its usefulness especially to the new adaptors so they can begin to change the culture of the system and/or the school.

    1. Hi Laurie,
      I agree with you that as leaders we have to be the ones “hauling in the small cars” and performing the demonstrations for teachers. We also have to find ways to facilitate discussions among teachers. We don’t need to all work through the “cookbook” on our own. Together we can plan, explore, innovate and create. Collaboration will be key to turning a daunting task into something not only more manageable but possible. Thanks for your comments.

  8. Love this! My dear mom early adopted microwave cooking. Sears clunker lasted 20 years, unlike current models. Maybe early adopting runs in families? Though back in 1980 the cooking was so damn complicated! So much simpler now with microwaves. That’s something to look forward to, more simplicity in teaching.

  9. Thanks for sharing a most wonderful “connection” to technology and how we don’t want it to appear as a fad, something that will only be around for a short time. I think that with the right tech in place we can literally move mountains, we can search and explore the world at our fingertips. Most importantly we can connect and collaborate and share in a way that was never possible before!

    I am glas we have the opportunity to explore some of this new ground together in our roles… keep on blogging!

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