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by David Birrow Birrow.David@MacPhail.org

If you are like me, you rued the day a few weeks ago when you updated your iPad to iOS 7.0. The graphic design made everything look like it was stolen from a Monopoly board, the battery life was diminished, apps were reconfigured and for what? Helvetica neue? Suddenly my work flow ground to a halt when using the iPad during lessons and classes.

I'm sure there are many advantages to the new OS that I haven't come across. Apple clearly and eloquently lays out their case in this video, but at first the advantages aren't readily apparent. There are also many explanations on YouTube.  

Then after a couple days, it was clear this update was a mixed bag. The Vimeo app no longer had a search feature(update: just fixed today) . On the other hand, the Evernote app was much improved and parallels the desktop software more closely. There were also some security concerns, and if you use your iPhone or iPad for student related interactions, you should read this article about updating the privacy settings on your device. 

But once my initial frustration passed, I felt embarrassed that I was upset by this small change. Sure, it negatively impacted my teaching momentarily, but that quickly passed. And my gripes about typography were merely surface irritations at best.

Most teachers thrive off routines, and that is as it should be, but interruptions becomes fatal when teaching is too rigid. I'm not about to say that I've seen the light with the new iOS and I've become a better person as a result, but I also certainly haven't forgotten how to teach because of it. 

These types of experiences highlight one of the most common feelings of being a teacher: constantly being a beginner.  Teaching is a complex task in which you have to be an expert in content, delivery, motivation, communication, group dynamics, performance, classroom management, planning, sequencing, and the list goes on.  There is no way you can study and perfect these skills all at once, so you inevitably feel like a beginner at some point. As a result, I'm trying to empathize with my beginning students, since everything is new for them. 

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I think you obliquely touch on a huge frustration of mine in this post. Yes, rigid is a bad thing when it comes to teaching. And, I get annoyed when people complain a lot about a format change in a program.In general, I think it is good to embrace change, especially in teaching.

That being said, I find it very difficult to find the time to keep up on everything. I don't mind being a beginner, but it is difficult to allocate time to constant updating/changing. Perhaps this is my own issue with time management, but it a consideration of mine when trying to decide how many/which new technology tools to use/embrace.