Is technology a threat for teachers and how they do things or is it an opportunity to redefine the classroom? Is it one more item on a teacher’s full plate or is it an opportunity to personalize learning for students? Is technology one more thing teacher’s have to learn about and receive PD on or is it an opportunity to engage our students with relevant lessons with tools they be using in their future endeavors? (hint: I hope you believe it’s an opportunity)
As we are getting closer to deployment in our county (1:1 iPads), we are working with our staff to look at their hopes and fears for this initiative. If you follow me on twitter or have read my previous posts, you know that I fully embrace technology and believe it is what is best for our students; but I understand that not everyone may share my passion or belief in technology as an accelerator for learning. It is our job to notice that teachers have real fears about technology and that we need to communicate to them that having fears are expected and ok but that we are going to support them in this initiative. We want a culture where:
- failure is ok (reflect and learn from it- FAIL forward)
- be resilient-don’t quit the first time technology doesn’t work
- teachers take risks and model this attitude in front of their students
- teachers understand that they are no longer the sole proprietor of knowledge in their classroom and that they can turn some of the control over to students
- collaboration and sharing ideas/best practices are valued, sought after, and are the norm (if you have not, become a connected educator)
- pedagogy still trumps everything; the technology will be a tool to support teaching and learning outcomes
My question to other administrators, is are you comfortable supporting and embracing this shift? I believe that administrators are the instructional leaders/lead learners in their buildings and that our attitudes/beliefs/actions set the tone for the building. Are we offering and leading PD sessions in our building (we should be)? Do we try new ideas in front of staff? Do we collaborate with other leaders and grow our own PLC? Are we communicating with staff and getting in classrooms to watch and support them?
I believe you can either look at technology as a threat or opportunity in education. I wholeheartedly believe this is an opportunity to engage our students and make schooling relevant. We have the opportunity to personalize learning while making our students creators and not just consumers of their education. Create the culture that this deserves. Are you ready to embrace the challenge?
If you are looking for resources on technology and innovation, then I highly recommend two books- UnCommon Learning by Eric Sheninger and Innovators Mindset by George Couros. These two books are great reads and will challenge your thinking to embracing the change that is needed to engage our students and make schools relevant. Students are our greatest stakeholders and we need schools designed for them with staff the embraces 21st Century Learning for College and Career Readiness.