Change is hard. Change, when we don’t drive it ourselves, can make us feel like we haven’t been doing something right or our work isn’t good enough. That’s not what it’s meant to be.
“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing” (Couros 3). It’s the process of bettering ourselves, of improving, growing and always learning. To change as educators is to embrace the premise that our world is continually evolving and our students will need to be prepared to walk into a world that is different than yesterday and especially different than the world we walked into at their age. To change is to innovate our instruction to meet today’s students where they are and not where we once were.
Change, for the sake of change, is not innovation. It’s just something different. Merely using technology is not innovation, either. “Technology can be crucial in the development of innovative organizations, but innovation is less about tools like computers, tablets, social media, and the Internet, and more about how we use those things” (Couros 20). It’s the why that gives us vision and inspires us (Sinek); it’s that how that puts our vision into action.
We have an amazing opportunity to change the learning experiences of our students on a daily basis. For that change to be innovative, we need to keep the learner at the center and ask what is best for this learner and what is best for his or her future. “Any time teachers think differently about who they teach and how they teach, they can create better learning opportunities” (Couros 21).
“The role of the teacher is to inspire learning and develop skills and mindsets of learners. A teacher, designer and facilitator, should continually evolve with resources, experiences, and the support of a community.” (Martin) Keep the dialog open. Ask questions. Collaborate. Take a risk. Reflect. Re-evaluate. Share. You have a community. Take advantage of those resources. Take the opportunity to do something amazing.
- Couros, George. “What Innovation Is and Isn’t.” The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., 2015.
- Martin, Katie. “Creating a Culture of Innovation Versus Transformation, “ katiemartin.com, June 10, 2015, https://katielmartin.com/2015/06/10/creating-a-culture-of-innovation-vs-a-transformation.
- Sinek, Simon. “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” TED Talk video, 18:04, September 2009, https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action .
As a School of Innovative Learning and Technology, our Site Plan calls for innovative, technology-embedded programs and experiences for our students. Does that mean that everything we do needs to be surrounded with technology? When is digital the right choice?
The use of digital resources in instruction needs to support best instructional practices, further your learning target, and promote deeper learning. We have amazing digital resources literally at our fingertips every class period, but not to use merely because they’re present.
Digital resources do have the ability to increase personalization, aid in differentiation, provide immediate formative feedback, increase engagement, and provide access to authentic materials (VanderArk & Schneider). Research shows that digital learning can increase achievement by as much as a grade level (Anderson). Thoughtful implementation is essential (Schapiro) in the planning process for this to occur. Merely using the technology without monitoring student use does not increase student achievement (Jacob). Our instruction has to be founded in best instructional practices. Technology shouldn’t replace the teacher, the standards or the learning targets.
As we move forward on our 1:1 journey, consider the instructional practices you are using. Is there a digital alternative? Is that alternative a substitution? Does that substitution offer additional possibilities for differentiation and application? Does that alternative actively engage students in the learning process? Does that alternative encourage collaboration? Does it encourage students to build upon prior knowledge? Does it provide for an authentic experience? Will you receive timely formative feedback through its use? Is it an additional activity or something embedded into your lesson?
Do you need help answering these questions or knowing what possibilities we have? Let’s work together with your collaborative teams to explore the possibilities.
Consumption to Curation to Creation – That One Thing
That One Thing, that one thing you do. That was the theme of our digital professional learning program this year. How did you integrate digital tools into your practice this year? What was that one thing you could do with any of our digital resources to facilitate students investigating authentic problems or situations, creating innovative products, demonstrating what they know and are able to do, collaborating inside and out of the classroom, communicating in real time, or even steamlining your workflow? What was that one thing for you? Where do you find yourself in the process of technology integration?
It’s a normal part of the technology integration process to begin with using your digital resources for consumption. It’s convenient. We have a tool right in our hands, the iPad, and we don’t have to wait to logon: email, reading, research at the tip of our fingers. This is an important part of the adoption process, because it gives us the opportunity to become more proficient with the device.
What’s next? Curating materials is the next step. Curating is the process of gathering materials and resources and sifting through them to find the most meaningful ones and incorporate them in an organized manner. Our filing cabinets are physical representations of this concept. Having a digital tool at our fingertips opens the door to an unimaginable world of resources that would burst that filing cabinet. Explore what’s out there!
There comes a time when we need to create our own materials for instruction. Again, our filing cabinets are filled with examples of content that we have created over time to meet our instructional needs. Our digital tools offer the opportunity to innovate what those resources look like. Sometimes it takes just a bit of inspiration to see the possibilities. Where do we find that inspiration? We find that by observing our peers and collaborating with them. We find that by exploring what other educators are sharing with us online.
This really isn’t a linear path into digital teaching and learning. I see this as a circular process of consuming, curating, creating and back to consuming. This is a constructive practice woven in and throughout the Technology Integration Matrix and the SAMR model of technology integration. When we move from our entry into technology integration to adoption, adaptation, and transformation, we revisit the stages of consumption, curation and creation as we refine our art and practice.
Where were you this year regarding your content and use of materials? What was That One Thing you did this year? Next week will bring a look at the Technology Integration Matrix and reflect on where we are in the Matrix.
- “Matrix.” TIM, Florida Center for Instructional Technology, fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.
- Reich, Justin. “Three Lessons from the History of Education Technology.” Education Week –EdTech Researcher, Education Week, 15 Sept. 2014, blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2014/09/three_lessons_from_the_history_of_education_technology.html?r=641074646. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.
- Reich, Justin. “Towards a Pedagogy for Tablets: From Consumption to Curation and Creation.” Education Week – EdTech Researcher, Education Week, 25 Sept. 2014, blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2014/09/towards_a_pedagogy_for_tablets_from_consumption_to_curation_and_creation.html. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.
- Schrock, Kathy. “SAMR.” Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything, http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.