January 4, 2013

I am looking forward to this year more than most probably because I can actually see things happening in the TCDSB. We are looking at challenging the status quo and I truly feel that the educational community is ready to listen to what we have to say. Why is this? Probably because the undeniable influence of technology and the amazing tools that are readily available to almost anyone. People cannot ignore what is out there and I think they are starting to see that the students that sit in front of them are much different than what has been in those seats previously.

I still think though that the key to the forward momentum of 21st Century Learning in the educational community is the fact that the tools and technology are so easy to use. The more we can show users how simple and useful the tools are the more people will adopt them. This is key to the work that AICT people do when in-servicing and key to teachers as they explore the many tools available to them. There is no denying that the tech available is impressive and an amazing tool, but this is where the boat is most often missed.

21C (what I will from now on use to refer to Learning in the 21st Century), is NOT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY! I say this so emphatically because this is the number one excuse that people use to stop the conversation about change. “We don’t have enough computers. We need more tech, and then I will think about new things and ideas.” This anthem is understandable but misguided and gets in the way of what needs to happen.

21C is not about tech but about change. In the most simple terms it is an acceptance that these learners are profoundly different than we were. And not just different like every generation is different from its parents. There is such profound and rapid change going on now that one has to go back to the invention of the printing press to see a comparison. That is the turning point that made literacy a necessary tool for citizens and I would argue that the internet is at least that powerful and so needs a radical change.

We will go into the changes more and the impact that the internet has on education throughout the year but suffice to say, we need to do things differently, and that has to start with each individual teacher.

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