This post was inspired by a quote from Katie Martin’s book Learning-Centered Innovation.
I’ve never asked anyone to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I recently overheard this comment being uttered at a workshop I was facilitating. When I hear this, I can’t help think that this sentiment is drawn purely from the belief that I’m only trying to promote the latest program, initiative, or hot new edtech tool, but that’s not my intention. Yes, like others who share my passion for new technology and gadgets, I get excited about these things, but that excitement quickly turns into thinking about the possibilities these new technologies create for learners. Further, this strengthens, not weakens, the role of the teacher. New technologies create new opportunities, but the teacher is the architect behind how these technologies are leveraged in the classroom to support learners. There is no need to abandon everything you’ve done in the past, but we need to take these approaches and augment them with the new opportunities that these technologies provide.
Perhaps it’s fear, a lack of understanding, or a reluctance to break from tradition, but the role of the teacher is as significant, or arguably more significant, then ever before. There’s never been a more time exciting time to be an teacher! Yes, this may require that you acknowledge you don’t know everything, but more often than not, those around you, including your students, will be happy to assist.
We need teachers to harness these transformational technologies and learn how to use them in ways that are going to promote the skill set required for our learners in an ever-changing world.
I’m not asking you to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but I am asking that you examine your thinking, suppress your preconceived ideas, and open yourself to the fact that there may be a better way.