Another school year has begun or it will begin soon. This is my 13th year as an instructional technology specialist/coach. I am sitting here reflecting on the teachers, students, administrators, parents, and other staff members I have had the honor of serving. It’s such fun meeting people here in my new school district and also when I get the opportunity to travel and speak in other places around the country. What many don’t realize is that while they might be coming to learn from me in a formal setting, I am enjoying learning from them just as much. I learn new ideas for how teachers want to have their students learn with technology, I learn new ways of providing students more opportunity to learn outside of a traditional classroom space, how to redesign classroom spaces, how technology can level the playing field for learning opportunities regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, and new ways to provide meaningful learning opportunities for educators and other staff. The list can go on but I think you get the idea.
The really cool thing is, I’m getting to help people and learn at the same time. Helping them is my passion; to help educators grow in their use of technology by providing meaningful learning experiences for them and the students we serve.
These are all opportunities worth seizing. I want to take as many as I can within reason whether they’re local, national or international. Sure, there are limitations on how much I can be gone from my full-time job and family, but that doesn’t lessen my desire of wanting more opportunities to grow. Sometimes I want opportunities I can’t have for one reason or another. Maybe the timing isn’t right or I’m just not the right person in a particular instance. I can always respect that but it still bums me out from time to time. When that happens it’s a missed opportunity to help others grow and an opportunity for me to grow as well.
As you start a new school year, what opportunities are you going to seize? Sometimes they’re right under our noses, and sometimes we have to see bigger and shoot for the moon. Either way, don’t stop seizing opportunities to bring growth to yourself, your colleagues, and your students.
We’re quickly approaching that time. The end of summer draws closer and the excitement of another school year begins. Many teachers enjoyed some relaxation as certainly did our students. Many of those same teachers also invested a lot of time and energy to learning about new ideas and technologies; whether that be attending a conference, edcamp, adding new books to their professional libraries or taking a grad class. The opportunities are, and will continue to be, plentiful.
From my own experience, as well as something that can be quickly deduced by chatting with any educator interested in edtech, keeping up with it all is a never-ending challenge. We always have new tools, new devices, this movement, and that movement. To try to keep up with it all can feel like quite a daunting, yet incredibly satisfying task all at the same time.
Just like Uncle Ben told his nephew Peter, “With great power comes great responsibility.”. We now have the power to keep ourselves at the forefront of educational technology. We can connect and learn on Twitter, through reading blogs, attending face to face events, taking classes, or by just doing a quick search on YouTube. Even if we don’t have every device available or are using every tool that’s available, it’s important for teachers, as well as school/district leaders, to keep our eyes on the horizon for what’s possible. The horizon always looks far away, but it should represent a place where we want to go professionally and be a place we want to take our students to in their learning.
Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better. Pat Riley
Anyone who calls themselves a movie fan of the 80s knows what this date represents. In Back to The Future Part II, “Doc” Brown and Marty McFly took a little trip to the year 2015 to rescue Marty’s future children from life altering failure. Specifically, October 21, 2015. That is today,
which has been appropriately deemed as Back to The Future Day! I’m a huge BTTF fan as you may have already guessed. I have t-shirts, Legos, and even have a flux capacitor phone charger in my car (insert geek jokes here).
While we don’t have flying cars, hoverboards, or Nikes with power laces we do have many other pretty amazing abilities: video conferencing, wearable technology, and this little thing called the internet just to name a few . It’s still amazing to me that we have the ability to take our students anywhere in the world, even if it is virtually. Learning is not limited to a classroom or even a school. It certainly is not limited to only happen during school hours either. We can connect with anyone in the world, and we can be a publisher and contributor of content for the whole world to see. These are all powerful learning abilities that were not possible 15-20 years ago.
While we don’t have our Delorean with built-in Flux Capacitor to learn what education will look like in another 5, 10, or 30 years from now, we do have some pretty incredible learning opportunities right now that can feel pretty futuristic. Are you (schools, districts, leaders, and teachers) doing everything you can to leverage these resources to bring the world to our students? Let’s make connecting and contributing to the world a priority to help create the future of education that our students deserve. 1.21 gigawatts not required.