Time to Change
I’ve had many interesting discussions of late about technology in education. They’ve left me wondering.
About how the one impacts the other. And the other, the other.
I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a district that is now offering our students incredible access to technology in their learning experience. I’ve long heard about the exciting possibilities afforded students in a 1:1 program, but now having the opportunity to be part of it first hand, I’m rather shaken by just how powerful this all might be. Because this could change everything. That’s not overstating it.
My question now is, what is everything? What is it that will change? What is it that should change?
For so long, the perceived value of an educational institution was the access to knowledge and information that being present in the institution provided. Teachers were the experts of content and poured forth that content upon the minds of the masses seated in desks before them. Whether you believe that to be right or wrong, that was the experience that nearly all of us had going through school. I was taught a chapter of something, completed worksheets about the something, took a test on Friday about the something, and forgot that something shortly thereafter. This perception of the value of education is no longer relevant to the reality of life. Likely, it never was at all.
When I was a kid, I was also beholden to others for the answers to many of my inquiries. If I was at home, and I wondered about something, I typically had to wait until I got to school or went to the library to uncover the answers to my questions. More often than not, that meant the questions went unanswered. Sadly, I was ok with that at the time.
Technology has fundamentally changed our level of access to anything. And, everything.
I’m now wondering how far this change can, will and should go. We’ve been having these conversations in my district. About moving beyond the digitization of old pedagogy.We’re collectively working to figure out what it means to have every student sitting with ubiquitous access to one of the most transformative and disruptive technologies in history at any given moment in the school day. About what that does to the notion of content. About how we can move to work in the lives of our students to create young historians. Eager scientists. Insightful mathematicians. Powerful authors.
That has me wondering.
What should technology change about the way our students engage learning? Truly and unequivocally change.
I think we need to start engaging this question in earnest. Because doing what we’ve been doing for decades, if not centuries, isn’t likely what needs to be done now. The landscape has changed. The tools have changed. The context has changed. We have changed. But in most cases, our approach hasn’t. Attending most conference sessions and professional development workshops on technology will demonstrate that almost immediately.
So, I’m hoping you’ll join me in this thought experiment. I’m also hoping we’ll be able to move it beyond an experiment quickly and put it into practice in a way that makes a difference for our students and their learning.
Give it some thought. I’m hoping, somewhere and somehow, you’ll share your insights.
I’m hoping we can get together, and wrestle with this idea. Collectively engage in the process and do the very difficult work that needs to be done. To reimagine what learning could look like. What it should look like. Because the technology really can, and should, change the way we are approaching learning.
It’s a huge task. But we have to begin somewhere. I believe we can do it.
I believe we have to.