October is Connected Educator Month so I thought I would share what being connected means to me.
The year is 2014; a year filled with technological advances where it is projected that there are 7.7 billion mobile devices being used in the world (source). That's nearly 600 million more devices than people! It only makes sense that technology permeates education. Schools and school personnel who are not embracing mobile technology are doing their students a disservice. Schools must change from the industrial model of the 20th century to prepare our students for the future. For those that don't understand, would you go to a doctor who used all the same tools and techniques they used in 1900?
The Village Extends Worldwide
I remember in the mid-90's when Hillary Clinton popularized the phrase "It takes a village." (Many sources indicate this is an ancient African or Native American proverb or adage.) As educators, our village used to be the walls of our school building and might have extended to our district. For those fortunate enough to attend conferences, it may have extended beyond that. Now, due to the Internet and sources such as Twitter, Teachers Pay Teachers, Facebook, Google Scholar, and many more, we can connect to people around the world. Take this blog for example. I started writing nearly four months ago and, while the US is my main audience, I have had hits from most European countries and appear to have a begun a following by a small group in Australia and the United Kingdom. I have gotten so much information from British schools and read more studies from Nordic countries than I ever thought I would. I have begun to create a PLN (Professional Learning Network) with people across the globe. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that 16 weeks ago.
It's Time To Acknowledge That Our Students Know More Than Us
I know, that is such a general statement and of course I don't mean in general. However, we must acknowledge that what scares most teachers embarking on 1:1 programs is that our students might know more than them and that we can't control everything in our class (see my post from last week). No longer is the teacher the sole educator in the classroom. Our students can teach each other, and us, about coding. They can teach us about gaming (which holds many benefits and connections to learning!). Students are also a great resource when it comes to troubleshooting.
I was having a conversation with a teacher this week and we were talking about solving problems we were experiencing with technology. We also talked about how you can Google anything and find a solution. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable but what kind of IQ would you need to have to know every nuance about every app, program and operating system? Being connected means that we can call upon the collective knowledge of the world. I had a problem with a Java based program the other day and thanks to an IBM site, I was able to find the specific file to make the program run.
Won't Technology Bring the End Of The World?
I've seen the apocalyptic movies where we all become isolated again and technology has caused catastrophic damage to the world. Cities fall, transportation becomes foot and horse again, books become commodities, and lawlessness prevails. But that's just Hollywood. Let's learn from their stories and avoid the mistakes. Living connected lives has its benefits and if done right, can truly make the world a better place.
Connected Silhouettes Mouse and Globe Exchange of Ideas