What I Learned From Star Wars

It’s report card time and, as usual, I’m finding ways to procrastinate. Luckily, Showcase channel has been running a Star Wars marathon for the last few days, so as I sat and collated report information over the weekend, I got my fill of favourite characters, places and stories. And that got me to thinking. Star Wars had been a large part of my life – how has it influenced me? Since this is an ed-tech blog, here are 7 things Star Wars has taught me about life and educational technology!

Have A Mentor, Be A Mentor

This, of course, is important in all walks of life. Like Luke when he goes to Dagobah to find Yoda, we can all use someone to challenge us, support us and guide us to our true potential. My ed-tech mentors have ranged from my UBC profs to people in my PLN to students of mine. People who push my thinking and question my ideas help me grow and become the Jedi I want to be. I’m still looking to connect with Yoda, so if you have an inside track, let me know!

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Just as important as having a mentor is being a mentor. No matter how little you think you know, there is always someone who knows less and would benefit from your guidance! As Yoda so wisely says, “Pass on what you have learned.”

You Can Be A Princess and A Warrior

Princess Leia showed a young me that girls could be girly and tough, too. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten. As a female ed-tech teacher I am aware that it is now my turn to be a role model and to show young girls that women CAN code, build and run robots and know just as much about computers as boys can (maybe more!) Don’t let your gender dictate what you can or can’t do!

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You Don’t Have To Be Fluent

At one point, C-3PO informs us that he is “fluent in 6 million forms of communication.” Teachers often fear that they need to be fluent in a given technology in order to use it. But guess what? 6 million forms of communication didn’t always help C-3PO and you don’t have to be fluent. You just have to be willing to give it a try! Start somewhere! I teach coding to kids and I can assure you, I am not yet fluent in any coding languages! But I do know how to learn and where to look when I get stuck. Which brings me to the next one….

Have A Flexible Point of View

Obi-Wan cautions Luke that “many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” Change your perspective or point of view and the “truth” can change. As educators, we call this “having a growth mind-set.” Don’t think “I’m too old to learn new technology” – instead, think “this looks interesting, I’m going to give it a try!” Which leads to…

You’re Capable of Amazing Things!

This idea weaves itself through all the Star Wars movies and many of the characters. Who thought a crop-dusting farm boy could destroy the Death Star or a that a scavenger from dusty Jakku could use mind tricks on a Stormtrooper? When Luke doubts himself and fails to pull his X-wing out of the swamp in Dagobah, Yoda does the job easily and Luke is incredulous. Yoda then tells Luke, “That’s why you couldn’t do it. You didn’t even believe it was possible.”

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Over and over, Star Wars tells us that we can do amazing things if we just believe in ourselves and try. Not sure if you can use green-screen technology with kindies or teach middle schoolers to create a proper digital bibliography? Of course you can – believe me…I’ve done it!

Failure Leads to Strength

Obi-Wan tells Darth Vader, “Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Through Star Wars we learn that falling down and getting back up again is okay – it leads to strength. And it leads to knowledge. I am constantly stumbling when it comes to using technology in the classroom! And each time I stumble I learn a little more and I get a little better at what I am trying to do.

And Finally…Know When to Let The Wookie Win!

I will never forget trying for hours to get something to look right on Google Docs. I felt so frustrated but I was determined to make it work. Finally, in a moment of desperation, I tried the same thing on Google Slides and it worked perfectly. As R2-D2 learns in “A New Hope”, sometimes it’s just better to “let the Wookie win.” Know when to give in.

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Well, I hope you enjoyed my light-hearted, somewhat tongue-in-cheek mash-up of Star Wars and educational technology! Next week’s blog will be all about wrapping the year up digitally!

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