Monday, July 14, 2008


 Who would have dreamed that technology could drive a Presidential election? But look how it is happening right now in front of our eyes. Think about the conversations that must be happening as political advisers, especially those that have been around for a while, maneuver in this uncharted landscape - especially with what they have at stake. It makes me smile as I imagine the arguing that must be going on! Some advisers who see the chaos as possibility and potential must be energizing their creative juices. Others who see the chaos that technology has created as simply chaos must feel like anything would be better than the uncertainty that it raises. It's no more business as usual.

I think the same is true of technology in education. The role that technology will play, even though it seems to be coming to us so slowly as compared to what's happening in politics, will change our lives... forever. So... in order for teachers to see through the fog to this new uncharted path, I think they will have to have courage. They will have to be BOLD. They will have to be brave. That's at the center of what I believe it will take to make a difference with this generation of children. We have to stop floundering around in the past and open our eyes to the future. Wow - it takes a whole lot of courage to stop and get out of your car and really imagine a path in the landscape without a map to guide you. It also takes a mountain of courage to realize that as long as we continue along the same path, we can't expect to make the kind of difference that will improve things for the next generation - changes that will close the achievement gap and prepare our young learners with 21st century skills. For some of us, the risk-takers, it's okay to walk an uncharted path. But for far too many of us, it's simply unfathomable.

Are we out of the box thinkers?
For those educators who are holding back, we must understand the courage that it will take for them to step up and, I don't know about you, but I don't really see teachers as a courageous bunch, fighting for the front of the line. It seems to me teachers, as a group, are nurturing and kind and have a "wait and see" mentality They want to get along, be liked. Confrontation is out of their comfort zone. They like the idea of all of us being equal - being paid the same - working on the same page of a curriculum - and don't really celebrate their colleagues who think outside of the box. They seem threatened by an individual teacher's success. I'm not talking about embracing change just for the sake of change, but opening the possibility of technology as a new tool for saving time and engaging students and enhancing curriculum, helping us think through things that we have never even imagined. It also means not being afraid to make mistakes and to know when to hold the course and when to change course. That means if we are really going to use technology in a way that will be meaningful to our students, we have to learn a set of skills that don't even exist in our thinking right now. How's that for mind boggling! But... I'm thrilled - excited - energized about the challenge and possibilities. How about you?


Susan T. Phillips said...

You should give the opening day speech!

Suzanne said...

I can't wait to see where we'll be in a few years with the technology that is so quickly changing our landscape. I headed to college in 1991 and very few had a computer in their room. We'd wait hours in line at a lab just to type a word document and print. Now, I don't know many kids who head to college without a laptop, cell phone, i-pod... And, they are not only typing and printing word documents, but surfing the web, communicating globally, buying products and services. Geez...what a decade can hold! Luckily, some of these kids heading to college will become educators in the next few years and I predict as they enter the profession, they will lead on the front line for technological change. As we all know, it only takes a few passionate educators to get the ball rolling. Thanks to Melanie I know that! I'm excited to embrace the new tools and can't wait to blaze new trails. After all, it is what our children deserve, and we are in this profession to prepare them for the global workplace.

Suzanne said...

I second your idea! Rarely, have I ever witnessed dayle not being able to convince an audience of the sense of urgency!