Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Independence Day: Bringing the conversation forward
I'm following the lead of Scott McLeod's 'Dangerously Irrelevant' Blog and doing something regarding involving adminstrators into the process of brining information technology tools into their professional lives. As I have tipped off several times in this space, I am approaching this dilemma from the other side. I am the Technology Coordinator from the school site, who does the professional development for the teachers, is a Google Certified Teacher, does local and regional professional development sessions for teachers, teaches information technology courses, has written grants to create two different technology initiatives (including our current Global Communications initiative.) and has developed a new academic discipline at my school. (Technology Arts)
I am also in the process of trying to move into the adminstrative ranks in my district or in a neighboring district. I am currently the summer school principal at San Mateo High School, cuting my administrative teeth with about 1,000 students during our summer session. When I discuss this with my peers in the teaching ranks and among the people I work with in professional development sessions, the question they ask me most often is: Why? Why would you want to move into administration and deal with the discipline issues, the parents complaining, teachers wanting more than you can possibly deliver and students trying to find the newest way to circumvent school rules and stay one step ahead of the adults running our schools. My response is clear and measured. I want to change the educational process. The way we educate our children has some fundamental flaws and we need to change that process.
I took the graphic from Kathy Sierra's, now defunct blog 'Creating Passionate Users,' because I think it acurately illustrates the plight of education and the type of students we need to graduate in the 21st Century. I can sit here and rattle off statistic, after statistic about how students will have 10+ careers by the time they are 40 years old or how the fundamental nature of information is changing and doubling every two to three months right now, but what we need to eventually get to is the fact that the process doesn't meet the needs of the current students. My solution is to step up to the plate and say that I want to part of the process of changing the educational system and I can only do that as an administrator. (I know it sounds a little arrogant... trying not to be!)
I want to be the administrator that drags the rest of his peers into the information age. Whether that be by using wiki's to collaborate with the staff, blogging a weekly newsletter to the staff and parents, creating podcasts for the students to listen to, or posting videos on sites like 'Teacher Tube' or 'Next Vista for Learning' for teachers and my fellow administrators to get professional development training.
I know that there was a slogan during the Vietnam era (I was about 10 years too young for that!) that stated that if you weren't part of the solution, you were part of the problem. Well, I am definitely going to be part of the solution and break the doors and barriers down as best I can from my position.
So, on Independence Day, I am saying I want to be a leader to move education into a new age and grant it independence from the industrial age of assembly lines and students moving from class to class like products to be built, and become one of minds and souls to be cultivated and allowed to discover the process of constructing their own learning.
OK... off of the soap box now!