When I think about how I got myself involved in Technology , it was pretty much the same way . I've been integrating technology in my classes and helping some of my colleagues integrate it in theirs. A mentor I highly respected suggested that I explore Tech further by completing a Masters Program and without hesitation (again!) I said YES . ... next thing I knew I was taking amazing courses that have helped me so much get to where I am now in the learning process.
The suggested reading for this week talked about Technology Integration Planning - a topic that I knew I needed to understand more. After having read the articles , I realized that there is a strong connection between Tech integration planning and the lessons I have learned and experiences I had in my preparation for the South East Asian Games back in 2005 :
1. If you have the right TOOLS , anything is possible
There are a WIDE range of tools or equipment that athletes can use for training. A lot of gyms and coaches around the world are formally running Muay Thai training programs that you don't know anymore which one is the best. What is essential , I believe, is having the RIGHT equipment and then working around different ways to use it so it fits everyone's needs. Choosing the right equipment increases safety and saves a lot time.
Technology develops so rapidly that it can get organizations confused as to which tool they should adapt in their school . When choosing which tools to use or invest on , one should think about its versatility and use - Can the tool be used in other ways? , Will it encourage different levels of thinking in students? Does it encourage teacher collaboration ? How will it develop in the future ? How much training do teachers need in order to use it ?
2. Organized, Structured Training Saves Time and Money
Since our sport wasn't one of the top 5 sports in our country, we had a very small budget allotment from the government. This means that we had to have a very organized and structured training program. We hired a coach from Thailand to train us in the Philippines and at the latter part, we went to Thailand to train with other athletes. This saved time and money because we already had in house training beforehand and we already knew the techniques and were able to practice them early on . When we arrived in Thailand, we applied what we knew and made the necessary changes/adjustments that we needed to make.
The success of any tech integration plan is dependent on the level of training that teachers receive. Sometimes when the training teachers receive are minimal and inconsistent , it may leave the IT department frustrated - overlooking the fact that if the teachers had an organized and structured training , it would have saved them a lot of time and money. When planning for teacher training, it is important to remember that teaching teachers how to use a technical device or tool for instruction once is not enough. Teachers should also be able to identify how they can use technology to enhance their teaching and accelerate learning.
3. Cross Training Helps in Success
In Muay Thai, there are many other skills that are needed to be developed in order to get the right combination of strength and power . These strengths like flexibility or core strength cannot be achieved by training in kick boxing alone. As athletes, we had to do cross training in track and field and gymnastics in order to develop our flexibility and strength.
John See mentioned in his article Developing Effective Technology Plans that effective technology plans define technology as more than computers. He said that if used correctly, other hardwares such as televisions or video cameras can be powerful learning tools. Tech plans should maximize technology's potentials and embrace a variety of other hardware and software for teachers and students to use.
4. Always Be Prepared for Risks
In a contact sport like Muay Thai , athletes are bound to get injured . In my whole training year , my ankle got injured 4x - that was my achilles heel . To mediate this , our coaches made sure that there's always a medical team on stand by during training as well as therapy sessions available for athletes .
Tech Planning will always have challenging times or as John Mikton put it, "organizational shrapnels" , and it is important that the team is aware of that . Everyone needs to be on the same page in dealing with problems so that the organization does not break .
5. Young Fighters Can Teach Valuable Tips
In contact sports like this, there's no better teachers than seasoned young fighters from Thailand. When we went for training , we were asked to train with fighters 5-8 years our junior. At first we were hesitant but when we went for it , their skills blew us away! We learned so much from them and we are thankful.
Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that the younger generation are the digital citizens and we are digital immigrants . It is important that we open ourselves to this fact and listen to their insights . We should get rid of the "we know better" mentality because nowadays , everyone we meet can be a potential resource .
Training for Muay Thai was one of the most exhausting experience I’ve ever had but it was also one of the most memorable and enjoyable. Having the opportunity to focus and dedicate myself to a sport was a truly unique and productive experience. I am positive that my journey into technology integration will be as rewarding too!