I am a firm believer that technology is the force multiplier in education. Technology in the hands of great teachers can transcend and redefine the classroom. It is our jobs as educators to prepare students for College and Careers (aka the “Real World”) and the best way we can do this is by teaching and learning with tools that students use everyday. It is our job as educational leaders to ensure that teachers have relevant professional development to meet their needs and that they feel comfortable teaching with technology; lesson planning with the end in mind and asking how can technology support the learning standards? Teachers cannot plan solely asking how will I use this tool tomorrow; the planning has to seamless. The technology cannot be forced but this will speak to the importance of professional development, PLC’s, and teachers becoming 21st Century Educators (an earlier post of mine). Future Ready also states the importance of having leaders who can use, model, and understand how technology can be utilized in the classroom every day and how it can redefine the classroom. Administrators have to be lead learners and model/present PD to staff and engage stakeholders if a school is truly going to become a model school that utilizes technology everyday to engage our students/stakeholders and properly prepare our students for College and Careers. I wholeheartedly support the Future Ready Pledge and would encourage all to read about their Initiatives.
Future Ready is a nice term to describe utilizing technology effectively in the classroom on a daily basis to engage our students. I see it more as Present Ready; students are using these tools today to interact and gather information. How can we ask students to be plugged in everyday of their lives and use these tools for everything yet unplug for their education. If we are not engaging students with technology and looking at innovative ways ( Innovator’s Mindset and Uncommon Learning are two must reads) to teach then we are doing them a disservice. We are using an industrial revolution model with our students when we need to accept the technological revolution has happened and continues to happen and that we need to meet our students at what is best for them. What is best for students is not always best for the adults but our business is doing what is best for students.
It is important that as we embrace Future Ready, that we embrace personalized PD for staff and understanding that SAMR is a growth model. Teachers may start at different places and that is ok. Some teachers are ready to hit the ground running where other teachers will be in substitution and will begin by mastering a few small pieces first. We cannot throw 25 apps at a teacher who is not comfortable with technology but we can work with them on Google Docs and Google Classroom for example. Once they become comfortable with these, then we can work with them on other technologies (apps, websites, GAFEs, etc…) that they can use to engage students. Collaboration will be key as well as PLC’s within your school and county that teachers can work in to improve their understanding of teaching with technology.
I have read and fully believe that pedagogy is king. Bad teaching with technology will still be a bad lesson. Teachers have to plan with the end in mind and thinking of how they can best teach their curriculum and standards. I believe that technology is the accelerator in helping teachers get their faster and better. Mechanics, doctors, and carpenters are all shown and taught to use the tools they will use everyday; we need to do the same with our students. Our students need to be digital literate and we need to be Future Ready.