Monday, February 11, 2013

Will the Real Change Agent Please Step Forward?

Photo by Megan Black
The deeper I get into this year of evolution at The Grosse Pointe Academy the more convinced I am that my real purpose has little to do with technology. Technology is simply the modus operandi. The instrument. The widener of possibilities. 

Gadgets are glitz. Gizmos are glamour. I'll admit I'm dazzled. But in order for this relationship to last there had better be meaty conversation. Shared values. Mischief and giggles. 

We should stop putting forth that the focus of 21st century education is embracing technology. We should however, consistently remind ourselves that teachers are humans who fell in love with learning. We heard its whispered promises in the dark and followed it to whatever end. Trusting ourselves as learners and lovers of language and ideas. Finding the inner courage, determination, and humility to mess up, over and over again. To seek. And wonder. And mull. 

The magic and the metal behind excellent teaching is when you take whatever is available to you and use it to craft your story.  Or share your students' stories. Or listen to the stories of other souls in foreign lands and hold them as your own. 

And so this is where the tech becomes a bonus. Because technology makes creating, communicating, and collaborating so darn accessible. 

I believe my mission lies not in breaking new ground. I am not a giant or a lion of courage and frankly, I am a bit of a klutz so don't put a machete in my hands. Nor am I a navigator. I get lost between the kitchen and the bathroom. No, I do better directing from the back of the troop. Noticing, looking, listening, and telling about it. 

Photo by Megan Black
And let me tell you just a few of the astonishing changes I have witnessed at my  tiny school. I've seen teachers get so excited about discovering new apps and interesting ways to use them that you'd think they were given the magical ability to metabolize bacon and fried chicken without the calories or cholesterol.  Impish first graders with missing teeth have schooled their veteran instructors in the hidden capabilities of programs. The lunchroom conversations have turned into best practices and collective problem solving think tanks. In short, we are becoming a community of learners and scholars. The devices are not responsible for the metamorphosis. The catalyst is the desire and persistent striving of all our tribe to grow.  

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