Monday, March 15, 2010

Go into the Light, Carol Ann...

As I continue to struggle with our current vision and model of school, I have recently had an opportunity to go to an enlightening and inspiring conference entitled, Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL.) The conference had numerous presenters that have revamped what they do in the classroom while using technology to make their life a great deal easier. Now, their lives were not easier at first, during the learning process, but now could not imagine their life without Google Apps.
The word on the street was that I might be so inspired after this conference, that I might expect staff to engage in various new experiences and use new tools and strategies in the classroom. Well, truth be told, I had those expectations before I went to the conference, but now I have a better idea of how to explore those topics without overwhelming the staff who are at different comfort levels of technology integration (hopefully.) I do not want any of our staff to "Be Left Behind." Google is going to revolutionize education, and we cannot ignore it or refuse the wealth of opportunities that comes along with it.
There are some myths that Jacobs (2010) states in the Curriculum 21 book:
Myth 1:"The old days are good enough--There are real dangers in glorifying the good old days and and clinging to our schools myths and stories. How can we grow the curriculum if schools are shackled by memories?"
Myth 2: "We are better off if we think alike -but don't think too much--Often times those who use the word elite use it in a pejorative sense when referring to a well educated person who has made a significant accomplishment." Society tends to give props to those people who have  "made it" by pulling themselves up by the boot straps and find them more highly regarded than those with higher education. I know there are times when I have met new people, I have felt a little embarrassed to say I have almost completed my doctoral degree or I won't even admit to it at all, which sounds so crazy as I sit here and type...
Myth 3: "Too much creativity is dangerous--and the arts are frills": Clearly the 21st century skills require learners to collaborate, create, use real-world tools, be personally and socially responsible, and be culturally and globally aware-we have to foster this kind of creative learning environment.
If technology is going to help us create our new vision of what schools look like (or don't look like in a virtual classroom) we have to embrace it.
Carol Ann's mom in Poltergeist said, "Go into the light, Carol Ann, it is OK, go into the light!" Carol Ann was afraid and didn't want to, but her she trusted her mom, and believed that her mom would not send her in the wrong direction or down the wrong path. Think of the light as the world of new technology. Although it can be scary, you have to go into the light if you are going to survive, but go there seeking support from those asking you to go there, and be brave, you will come out on the side and lead our kids down the path to the 21st century!

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