Educators in today's classrooms are often expected to be cutting edge, forward thinkers, innovators, demonstrators, role models, guides, facilitators, coaches, and much more. Most importantly, we as instructional technology leaders and supporters ask today's educators to make content and curriculum relevant to the millennial learner by “seamlessly integrating” into their teaching. Unfortunately, these parameters (in most cases) are poorly defined.
While we all have our opinions and best practices in that regard, let’s consider the barriers that might prevent educators from “diving in” whether their eyes are wide open or slammed shut. Fear, low self-efficacy, humility, time, funding, and high stakes assessments commonly come up when we first consider barriers. I like to consider these barriers “bricks” that build the foundation of a mile high wall preventing many educators from realizing their vision of harmony between rigor, relevance, content, and technology inclusion.
So, how can educators break down this wall brick by brick while moving forward in reshaping their current skills, as well as developing new skills along the way?
The majority of school districts would immediately respond to this question and provide solutions that mainly involve infrastructure, equipment, and personnel management. Still, one of the most important questions to consider is not as obvious…
-Are we giving educators a playground?-
What is the playground?
Simple…A space where educators are given the freedom to fall back to their roots and grow their imagination through learning, teaching, facilitating, exploring, modeling, coaching, collaborating (playing nicely with others), and making mistakes. Yes, I said making mistakes!
What is on the playground?
Simple...build a device-agnostic future classroom and outfit it with the greatest technologies/instructional technologies your vendors and school district partners have to offer (including BYOD technologies). This space would include multi-functional furniture designed with agile/flexible configuration in mind, capable of supporting almost anything imaginable.
What are the rules?
EVERYONE gets to play here no matter their name, rank, or title. Name badges are left at the door! Strive to grow champions and provide educational stakeholders the opportunity to not only visualize and dream, but also bring their content to life for any audience in an arena built for technology inclusion, innovation, and integration using 21st Century Learning Design. Provide support sessions that model best practices and support chains with the appropriate personnel (no matter the background or experience). Be sure to focus on successful learning opportunities and something we often lose touch with…making learning fun!
Continue the CONVERSATION…
What are your thoughts? What would your playground look like? What factors would you consider? If you had an opportunity like this in your school district…What would it look like? What type of lesson would you teach in this space? What else is there to consider?