Please, let’s get passed the useless debate about whether or not we should have technology in school. It must become the norm. No question. Kids are extremely plugged-in and engaged outside the classroom while increasingly, they’re tuning out in the classroom. If the purpose of education is to prepare these children for today’s world, we’re already behind the eight ball. If you’re facing the challenge of making significant and sound technology investments for your schools, but simply replicate old practice, don’t do it. It’s a monumental waste of money. Seymour Papert used a drawing of a stagecoach equipped with rocket boosters to illustrate the point that “Technology being applied to an old model of learning and teaching simply doesn’t work.” There are too many educators who still think that if we keep refurbishing the stagecoach, we’ll prepare students for what they need to learn to thrive in this world. No more tweaking please! Let’s just stop the tweaking. If you’re investing in technology to transform learning, there is an international group of educators converging on Atlanta this Dec 2-3 (www.international1to1conference.com) that can help you to truly make a difference for your students. This important gathering represents a crucial learning opportunity for you, and our chance to build a unified unwavering Global 1to1 Community. Those of us who will be sharing our stories in Atlanta wear the battle scars of lessons learned from a legacy of classroom technology integration initiatives riddled with failure – because we worked in isolation without the benefit of learning from the successes and challenges of like-minded trailblazers. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and don’t think that you can do it alone. - A community is waiting. We have the privilege of working with educators from all over the world who are developing exciting programs – with tremendous transformative potential – that are rarely scaled up. Brilliant well-intentioned leaders are pushing the edges of innovation in their schools by leveraging the potential of technology to enhance learning, but they are isolated from one another in a system that steadfastly values conformity, compliance, and control over creativity, risk-taking, and critical thinking. Collectively, we must forge ahead, but those of us who are striving to transform classroom learning by effectively deploying technology are still butting heads with many pundits who argue that there is too much financial risk associated with district-wide technology integration. The real risk is continuing to prepare our students for a rapidly changing world using pen and paper. It is 2013. We’re well into an established call to action for ‘21st century learning’, but we’re still paying more lip service to the term than delivering concrete results. We can’t keep preparing our kids for 1991. It is nothing less than malpractice.
It is our moral imperative to deliver on a fundamental vision for schools where learning is truly personalized, and each and every student is able to maximize their full potential. This can only happen when all students are provided ubiquitous access to technology. The digital divide is accelerating and threatens all of our futures. We can’t be satisfied with that type of a system. We have to think differently. Technology can level the playing field for all of our children, but it takes courageous leadership to provoke this deep meaningful change. Please join us in Atlanta and add your voice to the community of courageous leaders who are mounting this urgent education crusade.
Leslie Wilson – One-to-One Institute Stewart Crais – Lausanne Learning Institute Ron Canuel – Canadian Education Association