So the latest edition of ISTE’s magazine Learning and Leading calls me out by name and wonders if I, in my attempt to “cajole, inspire, persuade and demand, sometimes with righteous indignation that readers bring forth radical change in education, might unwittingly discourage the very educators who are fighting the good fight, often unsuccessfully.”
Fair question, and one that I think about all the time, actually. I absolutely mean to provoke the conversation around change in schools and in ourselves; anyone who has read this blog for any stretch over the last nine years knows that’s the case. But I also try to do so in a way that doesn’t demean teachers, a way that challenges their thinking about the profession and their roles in the classroom while at the same times honors the realities of the classroom. The vast majority of the time, I think I strike that balance. And on the rare occasion that I might miss, the comments usually set me straight.
The ISTE article is worth the read, and since there’s no way to engage these ideas on the Leading and Learning site, I’ll offer it up here by proxy. Take a minute to read it, and feel free to let loose here. How hard is too hard to push for change?
A couple of points for the record first. Since the link to my blog post cited in the magazine is incorrect, you can read it here for context. As you’ll see, I’m not chastising “teachers who are also parents” in the post; I’m pretty much throwing all parents under the bus. And while it’s correct that I’m not currently in the classroom, I think it’s worth pointing out that for three years I actually did “Try That in My Classroom,” blogging and wiki-ing with my students, bringing authors and experts in virtually, asking my kids to problem-solve, collaborate, sift information and use technology to connect with others around the world around their passions. I also spent a number of the rest of my 21 years in a school struggling with technology integration in general, and I’ve also had the opportunity over the last four years to work with thousands of teachers close up through PLP. So it’s not like I have zero context for what teachers are dealing with in their own attempts to shift.
Finally, let me just point out that while I was in the classroom, my blogging was about the classroom. My book was written when I was still there as well. But as my work has evolved, so has my writing. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a “30 Ways to Use (insert your new tech tool here) in the Classroom” post here, not that those types of posts can’t have great value; they can. But that’s no longer my main interest. As I tell just about everyone one of the audiences I speak with, at the end of the day, this is less about technology and more about learning, less about schools and classrooms and more about individuals experiencing these shifts deeply for themselves so they can then bring them into their curricula and conversations with real context and meaning. That’s been the focus of our work in PLP, and it will continue to be my focus here; how are you changing as a learner and connecting with the world despite the barriers you may be up against in your classrooms, your schools and your districts? It all flows from that.
I’m sincerely interested to hear your thoughts.