These past few weeks, I’ve found myself questioning how I use technology in the classroom.  It’s not that I feel I don’t use it correctly, but rather,  I’m concerned that I don’t use it efficiently.  As I’ve stated in earlier posts, navigating the many choices we have at our fingertips and designing lessons to incorporate technology is exciting.  However, it is also extremely time consuming if not done well.   I know I’m not the only teacher to experience the “buzz” of the students as they turn on their computers and begin constructing their next masterpiece.  Picture it – I move about the classroom, checking all of the cool projects and observe an abundance of student creativity displayed on computer screens.  As I do so, I realize that I have not fully considered all of the options/pitfalls a middle school student will accidentally discover on purpose. These same students quickly bring me back to reality as they pelt me with a plethora of questions that I’m not sure how to answer.  What I quickly realize is that in my eagerness to  promote “technology” in the classroom, I occasionally push the intended learning goal to the back burner.  In my attempt to make the lesson “cool and creative”, I forget to make it purposeful and focused.  Pondering this issue and looking at the amount of class time already dedicated to the process, I decide to plod forward determined to see how things “turn out”.  As students complete the required tasks I find  my patience wearing thin – putting out one fire after another.  So, I do what most of us do and ask, “Is it really worth all of this hassle?”  Seriously – unlabeled folders, deleted papers, embedded videos that have disappeared and other “tech” issues constantly  battering my poor students’ delicate psyches and mine!  The answer is a resounding, “YES!” I believe the key is to keep the process simple and the desired results basic.  By doing so, this allows those of us still in the “experimentation” mode to develop strategies and procedures which enables us to help students more effectively.  Not only that, by using baby steps it ensures we keep the learning outcomes at the forefront of each lesson/project.  Currently, I work with a “tech-geek” who constantly provides cool things for us to do in our classes.  Like most, I eagerly jump at the new ideas and how they enrich the learning environment.  Even though I realize that some of these projects are out of my “comfort” level,  I recognize the value of using technology to enhance student learning and literacy.  Even further, how can I ask students to take risks and have patience if I don’t do the same?