children playing- oak tree by Jos van Wunnik (Flickr) under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivs Generic Licence
In a recent online conversation I had with colleagues, one teacher said, “Some of the most promising steps forward in utilizing technology in my classroom have been driven by students who ask to use a particular program or app, or offer to share with me some tip or trick for solving a problem” (K. Lasher, March 15, 2013). It is true, children often lead the way when given the opportunity.
Our Parent Council leads the way, too. Almost three years ago we presented the vision of a move from traditional library to Learning Commons. The Council embraced this. One member in particular often reminds us how the decisions we make about teaching and learning need to connect to the philosophy of a Learning Commons model.
The same could be said about personally owned mobile devices. I worked with a member of Parent Council last year to prepare an application for a grant to purchase ipads for the school. She and I both agreed that within five years, probably most children will have a POD that they can bring to our K-4 school. Then she said, “And our foundation will fund PODs for those students who cannot afford them” (J. Feikes, 2012). Talk about vision! They see what school could look like for our children, and they work to promote it.
It is not technology that is keeping us from moving forward in education. It is us. As a profession, we need to transform from traditional sage on the stage to learner and risk-taker. We need to present problems and allow others to help us solve them – students, parents, and community members, worldwide.
We need to start each day by asking, “What problems do we need to solve today? What risks can we take today?” instead of “What do I need to teach today?”