The End of the Year
Written by Eric Bird- Lead Trainer/Peer Coach Digital Wish
It’s hard to believe that the school year is coming to an end. The projects were plentiful, the training was successful, and the teachers and students were enthusiastic. I loved the pilot schools I worked in, and the teachers and administrators cannot be praised enough for their part in the process. Students and teachers took surveys, used new tech hardware and software on their own, and became comfortable enough that they needed me very little in this last month. That is what we strive for – self sufficiency and a self-sustaining environment where instead of outside sources, a school can ask technology experts/mentors within the school or district, including fellow educators and students alike.
The organic process of growth in the schools is what I found most fascinating. Whether we started with one classroom or one grade level, at every school we worked in we saw a tremendous interest from surrounding classrooms and grade levels. This in turn progressed to new grants being sought and given, and even more technology and training being provided to the school. One step further – surrounding schools in the same district or community learned what was happening at the pilot schools and soon became involved in proactively seeking grants and funding from wherever they could.
From what I’ve seen, the key to this success is always a factor that can be very complex – great leadership. What defines a great leader is even more complicated. The amazing leaders I have seen with this and similar programs have been Bold, with a vision that they commit to seeing fulfilled, Brave, knowing that there will be problems, but with every problem there is a solution, and Open to Community Involvement, an essential component to 21st century connectedness. Great school leaders are respected, often trail-blazers, hold a vision that people are willing to follow, and more than anything, they get things done. One way or another, they will push for better change, for current technology and training, and for classrooms that reflect and prepare students for success in the 21st century workforce. Through dedicated administrators, teachers, tech specialists, and community leaders, schools can find a way to accomplish their 21st century goals.
With students demanding that their learning process and tools are relevant to today’s world, its seems the moral obligation of our educational system is to strive toward a 1:1 program where every student can have a world of information at their fingertips, and the guidance and training required to fully understand it. From social media to Web 2.0 applications, from new literacies of online reading comprehension to creative multimedia presentations, from a shift where the lesson is not technology, but technology is used as a tool for the lesson, schools worldwide are making the transformation. When I see entire states like Maine transforming their educational system with 1:1 computing, or entire countries like Uruguay making the brave 1:1 step to say we will not be left behind, the question for every school’s leader is not if we should make the 1:1 change, but how?