That’s right English majors, I went rogue and completely threw grammar out the window, but I got your attention, so keep reading!
I keep hearing people say times are changing, well I think they missed the boat because the times have already changed. After just spending an hour sifting through iTunes with my 6 year old debating song titles, content, and volume of her iPod, I know how different times are for my little family. Sadly those thinking that they are changing now are going to find themselves stranded on the island of denial as they rest of us are chauffeured around in our self-piloting cars.
Google is a word. Not just a proper noun belonging to a company that makes information easily accessible for all, but a verb. Our students Google… everything. They don’t know a world without information at their fingertips. My 6 year old proves it every day as she demands I look up the weather on my phone prior to selecting an outfit.
Our students will never know what it was like to sift through the card catalog for hours on end, then traipse through the library seeking the title we just found in a wooden draw only to realize said book is already checked out, and won’t be back in circulation for the next 2 weeks. Our students will employ Google Docs and use the explore feature to find their resources while staying on the very page they are using to type their paper. With a click of a button the source will be cited on their doc for them! How many tear-filled hours did I waste in my youth formatting and scrounging for the correct data to cite my sources. Kids will never get how easy life has become for them, but we do, and we love it!
Some day soon a generation of students may never know what it’s like to pass out papers, check books out of a library, or utilize a home phone. This isn’t sketchy sci-fi theater at its finest, it’s our close reality. What are we, as educators who grew up far removed from this instantaneous, on-demand learning environment, doing to prepare ourselves for success teaching this new generation? Are we taking classes? Developing a forward-thinking PLN? Are we exploring new tools? Or are we lamenting what used to be and dragging our feet as our learners pass us by?
Change is never easy. However change has already come and it’s time to learn a few new tricks, because even old dogs can learn new tricks. As an older dog myself, I can attest that there will be some bumps in the road to innovative practices. There will be full blown failures that will make you want to throw devices out windows.
However, I will also affirm that these moments of sheer frustration will lead to breakthroughs and learning opportunities that will make you and your students more resilient problem solvers. So I challenge you to try one new thing this week. Try a new tool, begin using a new LMS (learning management system), explore collaborative features of G Suite for Education, and share! Don’t forget to share your experiences with another colleague. Share the good, the bad, the horrifying. You may find a colleague who’s been there,done that, and can help you find a solution. Or you may just find you’ve ignited a spark for someone else to try something new.
Looking for ideas? Check out our list of middle school tweeters. Better yet, why not add yourself to the list and share a picture or two of what’s happening inside your classroom walls. We may just learn a thing or two from you. Join us November 14, 2017 at 7pm for #wyasdpride chat. All you need to do it log onto your twitter account, search for the hashtag, and answer the questions that are posed. Hope you will join us in exploring the possibilities of developing a PLN (professional learning netword) via social media.