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Education, Leadership, Social Media, Teaching, Technology

Falling Behind: The Need for Edtech Urgency

Day Eighty One | End of the Road

cc flickr photo by ASurroca

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Change takes time. Baby steps. One day at a time. There is no shortage of admonitions about the process and pace of change. In education, it seems, we tend to listen to all of them. Proceeding at a rate that is exponentially slower than the world around us. When it comes to technology, we emphasize caution, safety, and a need to thoroughly understand before implementation. We are the proverbial tortoise — proceeding slowly in a race that requires a sense of urgency.

While meaningful change isn’t easy, the challenge of embracing new technology and associated pedagogy should be viewed as a necessity, not as something we will do at some point in the future–time and comfort levels permitting. So how do we speed up the change process, without completely throwing caution to the wind?

  • Model the use of technology. Take every opportunity to demonstrate how technology can be integrated in the classroom, as both a teaching and administrative tool. Use Google Docs to collect and share information. Set-up a school Twitter account and Facebook page. Demonstrate any of the wide variety of web tools that can be used to enhance classroom instruction. Seeing is believing.
  • Demonstrate that social media can be used for good. Work to dispel the notion that Twitter is just about where you ate for lunch and Facebook is synonymous with Farmville. Allow others to see how these tools can be utilized to improve communication, develop professionally, increase collaboration, and engage students.
  • Be on the leading edge. Be willing to take a few risks and try something different in your classroom, or at your school. Challenge yourself to question current practices and consider how you might purposefully integrate technology to enhance your instruction (or school leadership).

Meaningful change requires a certain level of discomfort and expediency. Choose to be a little uncomfortable, challenge others to take reasonable risks, and create a sense of calculated urgency with regard to the utilization of educational technology.

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About azjd

K-12 administrator, sports fanatic, bicycling enthusiast, and jedi in my own mind.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Falling Behind: The Need for Edtech Urgency

  1. Good bit, Jeff —

    And as a classroom teacher, I’d add one more idea to your list: School leaders have to make it clear that risk taking won’t carry unintended consequences for teachers.

    We need to hear our leaders say over and over again that failure comes along with attempts to explore and innovate — and that failure in pursuit of improvement is not only forgiven, but encouraged and understood.

    The high-stakes accountability world that we’re living in has tainted teachers. We’re hesitant to try new things because we regularly get clubbed over the head whenever we “fail.”

    That’s a truth that is hindering change — and it’s a truth that school leaders interested in encouraging innovation need to tackle head on.

    Any of this make sense?
    Bill

    Posted by Bill Ferriter | November 11, 2011, 4:56 am
    • I could not agree more. In fact, I work to encourage and reward those teachers that take the risk to stretch, potentially fail and expose themselves as not being the “all knowing expert” That is the true definition of a life-long learner. Thank you for this reminder.

      Posted by Nadine Naughton | December 7, 2011, 10:04 pm
  2. I find that at times my use of technology in and out of the classroom is intimidating to some of my colleagues and that frustrates me. It’s not that I have a significantly more knowledge or skills using these tools (although that does come from use and practice), but it is my curiosity that leads me to use the amazing tools available to all of us. I would love to see my colleagues take bigger risks and try things like Twitter, Facebook, etc.

    Posted by Mr. Michael Buist (@buistbunch) | November 11, 2011, 11:48 am

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