Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our Teachers Are Gaining Speed


I am constantly amazed at how quickly things can change.

There was a time when the adoption of Google Apps drew significant critique.  There was a time when the selection of the iPad as the primary learning tool for Waukesha One was challenged.  There was a time when even the suggestion of using Blackboard found a room of disbelieving faces.  None of these "times" were very long ago.

Things are changing.

Nearly every day I get a lead on some small use of technology that signals a change in the way our kids are experiencing school.  I regularly hear from enthusiastic teachers who have turned the corner and see how these tools can change the way their students show what they know.  I ofen am asked "what if" questions from educators who have learned what the technology is capable of, and are wondering how to extend those capabilities.

In Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point, Gladwell explores how changes are made and how individual actions and small movements grow to trends.  All of Gladwell's wisdom and insight boils down into some very simple realizations.  One key quote from the book suggests to me exactly how we have moved so quickly in our adoption of technology in the School District of Waukesha.

"There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. 

The reality is that we lay claim to some pretty amazing educators in our district -- many, many amazing educators.  It is the thoughtfulness, creativity, and risk taking that these people are willing to commit to our students, to their professional learning, and to their practice that is making this change happen.  

With that said, we have not reached the tipping point where these techniques, practices and opportunities are not common place.  To get there, we all have an opportunity to start listening to those new ideas and practices.  We have an opportunity to start emulating these practices, especially if they will enhance our experience and/or the experience of our students.  We all have an opportunity to begin to engage in learning from each other and improving our practice as a result!

Dig in.  There are amazing things happening around us.  It is an amazing time to be an educator, and an amazing time to be in Waukesha.