Part 1- Vision
The world has changed. One need to only enter any business from the grocery store to the hair salon, the mechanics garage to the doctor’s office to see that technology is everywhere. It has transformed productivity, communication, collaboration, learning and our society today. Keeping up with changes in technology and the never-ending possibilities of digital tools seems, at times impossible. Yet in order to stay competitive, connected, informed and productive in today’s world we must learn to integrate technology into our lives and use the technology in the world around us.
Nowhere is it more important to embrace the power of technology than in our schools. It is through our schools that children are prepared for the world they will inherit. As educators it is our duty to teach students the understandings, skills and knowledge they will need to become productive and contributing members of our increasing technology enhanced society. Our world runs on technology and are children need to be prepared to run the world. Unfortunately, it seems that kindergarten to grade 12 education has been slow and in some cases stagnant in embracing the use of technology in instruction and learning. Ironic that the one place charged with preparing our children for the world they will inherit is the very place that often fails to see that the world has changed and the skills needed to thrive in this world are increasingly driven by technology.
Behind my next few post is a vision, an idea I want to share about the importance of leadership in creating an environment where students’ learning will not only be transformed by technology but empowered by it. An environment where technology is not seen as an extra but rather a valuable instructional tool for learning. In these environments students will not have to power down when they enter the classroom by leaving their digital devices at home. In these environments students will not only learn from their teachers and their peers but from others beyond the four walls of the classroom. Where learning is not limited by space, time and the one teacher in the classroom. My vision is of a classroom where students are empowered to follow their own inquiries, connect with other locally and globally, and demonstrate their understandings in a variety of different ways. I want students to become empowered by their own desire to learn, grow, and shape our every changing world. I want them to feel success. I want them to know that the technology rich world that they live in, lives in our schools as well.
My vision of education is encapsulated in the graphic below. In this graphic of ever-increasing circles learners are at the heart. It is the learners that our education system needs to serve, not by simply filling them with knowledge but by empowering them to become lifelong pursuers of knowledge, understanding and the skills necessary in their lives. Within each circle technology should be fully and seamlessly integrated and a part of all we do to empower learning and learners.
To achieve this vision strong leadership is not only necessary but vital. Instructional leaders need to understand the necessity of integrating technology into education, play an active role in modeling its use, remove barriers for integration, and set high expectations for all students and staff. Technology is not an add-on, or an extra, it is now a key element of how we strive to empower all learners though quality instructional practices, a rich curriculum, and an engaged community. To make this vision a reality instructional leaders must take on this critical role.