Iâ€™ve mentioned before here that I would be doing a better job overall if instead of being somewhat the â€œLone Rangerâ€ in my school district doing project-based learning with access to laptops for every student and many others pieces of technology, there were others involved to network with and plan with and mainly get feedback from.
I get great support from the teachers and others I network with around the country and world, but thatâ€™s not the same as having others taking the journey with you that deal with the same parameters and policies you do.
I love what I am doing and we have been getting lots of attention and kudos for what we are doing, but with that comes a sense of responsibility that on the one hand helps motivate you and pump you up, but on the other hand makes it hard to say NO to trying things and taking on everything that comes your way.
Lisa Parisi ranted and unloaded about her recent frustration under the weight of trying to make the case for changing how schools work and being a change agent in her school district.
Iâ€™ve had several conversations recently about this very subject including one with Lisa, Kim Cofino, Kevin Honeycutt, and Ginger Lewman on Lisaâ€™s â€œTeachers are Talkingâ€ online show on EdTech Talk. The gist of those conversations is this:
Education needs to change! Schools and teachers need to see the value of trying new ways and incorporating new tools in their classrooms.
You! Yes you! have some experience with doing that … and you are excited and maybe passionate about it and at least somewhat articulate â€¦ youâ€™ve had some great successes doing that in fact, so we need you to keep on doing new things and using new tools and innovating in new and innovative ways because so few teachers have access and knowledge and experience with these new ways and tools that you will be a beacon that helps guide them!
BUT! … Donâ€™t screw up! Or you will cause others that donâ€™t even know what tools are out there yet to lose access to those tools because of YOUR one bad experience â€¦
BUT keep using these tools and methods yourself in â€œcutting edgeâ€ ways so that people take note and others will see the value in using them and maybe even try or think about trying themselves â€¦
BUT if you screw up that will be a message to them not to try or someone might get in trouble â€¦Â
BUT making these tools available is very valuable to students who will be left behind if they donâ€™t have access and that will be on your neck for not using them and showing others â€œthe wayâ€ â€¦
BUT if even one student does something inappropriate that might mean youâ€™re out of a job and other teachers will be blocked from using these powerful tools â€¦Â
BUT it will also be on your neck if you have the knowledge, and the tools, and the ability to use them so that your students can be all they can be, and have a chance to make it in this evermore networked world where not having a network is probably going to be a problem, and you choose not to because you are afraid or don’t want to sacrifice the time â€¦
BUT you need to be the example of how to do these things as safely as possible â€¦
BUT remember bad things can happen out there if your kids network with the wrong people … even by accident … and that will be on your back â€¦
BUT you also need to make yourself available to present to other teachers, and administrators, and parents, and media, and the school board, and state administration, and politicians, on your time, usually for free, to give the examples and make the case so others can follow your lead â€¦
BUT you take the chance of alienating people on your own staff and in your own district and called a glory-hog for getting all this attention and creating a stir …
BUT if you donâ€™t bring attention to what you are doing thenâ€¦ You get the idea.
Learning is messy!