Thursday, June 2, 2011

Innovate, Collaborate and Achieve!

As educators we can boast that we integrate technology, but can we do it meaningfully, and thoughtfully, to achieve our curricular goals?  I have seen, far too many times, technology used just because it is there or it looks good during an observation. I too am enticed by the newest instructional technologies on the market and sometimes just look for a way to include it somewhere in someone's curriculum. But, we have to remember to keep things in perspective and see where we, and our students, stand with our technology integration skills.

Are our students really as skilled and prepared as we, and they, think that they are? Overall they are used to using technology for entertainment. They need to learn how to use it as a tool to innovate and leverage for maximum benefit to achieve their goals. Students need to see that the technology that entertains is also the same technology that teaches and helps them innovate, collaborate and create.

Let computers do the computing! You are the ones that will encourage and engage your students through your passion for learning. Kids are more savvy than we give them credit for, the can sense it when we are "forcing" it. If we can learn how to do this, and use our creativity and innovation skills to get the technologies to do what we want them to do, amazing things can happen. But, this isn't always easy since many of us see technology as an analytical tool and not a creative one.

We need to be fearless in our teaching and we need to take control of our own learning. We need to be researchers and collaborators who move forward with the help of our colleagues. Furthermore, school leaders need to build a culture that fosters meaningful integration of technology that has measurable results. We all need a "road map" for success. Sometime we just need the path drawn out for us until we can create one for ourselves.

Students need to know that the same social media that they use to connect with their friends is the same one that can teach and connect them with very well-known, and well-educated people. They can "friend' and "follow" these experts, educators and innovators to enhance their learning. Technology has great potential to allow people to express their viewpoints that they may not otherwise share. It can unleash a great debate with minds and scholars once thought unreachable. We can't let this opportunity pass us by!

If you have done this for any period of time then you know that technology integration is a "messy" thing and nobody has really come up with a "clean" way of  handling it. If you think you do, or even don't, then speak up and share your thoughts. That's why we have the "Comments" feature on this blog. So, let's collaborate, debate and share right here and now. Our futures depend on it!