Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where To Begin

The hardest part of being one of a few people in a school that tries to implement technology in the classroom is continuing to find ways for us to inspire ourselves and, in turn, each other to keep using trying to be innovative. Two things have come across my e-mail this week that have really made me think about that and about what those of us who are trying to be innovative need to keep doing to help others in our building to see what that we were are trying to get our students to accomplish can be used in their classrooms as well.

The first e-mail that came in was a question from an edWeb community that I belong to and was entitled: Does your school have a culture of innovation or does your school have pockets of innovation? I really believe that we have only pockets of innovation or as I said "a pocket" of innovation. It just seems as if four or five of us are willing to do what we can to bring new ideas into our building, and others are willing to listen to us as we come up with different ideas, but how many of them are willing to truly implement them. It appears that they are politely listening to us and saying "wow, that's really great" and then they go about their business as usual. I wish I knew the answer as to why that is, but I just know that I can only worry about what I am doing and the opportunities that I am providing to my students to enrich their lives and, hopefully, give them the tools they need to continue their learning beyond the classroom.

Which brings me to my second e-mail, a post from the principal at Burlington High School, Patrick Larkin. His most recent posterous entry entitled Lifelong Learners asked the question Where would you start in your classroom or school being the model for the change that is necessary? Now, because Principal Larkin is frequent "Tweeter," blog poster, and general zealot in the cause of bringing technology into the hands of all of our students, I am quite familiar with his thoughts on technology and so I found his question intriguing. I would like to think that my willingness to show my students that I am doing all of the things that I am asking them to do (blogging, VoiceThread, etc.), that that would be enough to demonstrate to them the importance not only of using technology, but also the importance of wanting to learn about new ideas regardless of age or station in life. I guess if I were to suggest to someone where that modeling needs to begin, it needs to be with joining an on-line PLN and learn as much you can about what is out there to motivate and inspire our students. We can't be afraid to tell our students that we are learning right along with them and showing them the product of our learning.


Sue Densmore said...

Dan -

I am glad you are here in our building for our students. The kids that come to me that are also yours talk about how much they love your class - how much fun and relevance you bring to history. They like the tools, too. But it is the subject matter they are jazzed about, and how the new tech you use brings the content to life in a different way for them.

We must keep learning ourselves in order to keep inspiring them to learn. Thank you for your example.

Dan Boyle said...

Thank you, Sue, for the kind words. It is good to know that there are you and a few others at our school that make sure I am not on an island by myself. It makes taking risks a lot easier.