Four Simple Truths – It’s Not About The Technology

Mar 10, 2008 by

This is a previous post written for the MACUL Conference Blog. However, the content is quite relevent to the state of educational technology, and thought that I’d include it here as well.

I had a chance this morning to sit in on Marion Ginopolis’ presentation at the Administrator’s Breakfast. Marion is the director for the Michigan Leadership Improvement Framework Endorsement program (MI-LIFE). A long name yes, but it basically boils down to teaching today’s educational leaders to identify the right ways to help educators teach today’s students. Below are the thoughts and highlights that I took away from the presentation. You can find specific details about the presentation and a copy of it at the MI-LIFE Blog.
The World Has Changed

The world is virtual, digital, and flat. The access to information that we now possess is greater than it has eve been. Collaboration with people around the world is no longer the exception, but the norm.

Our Students Are Different

Our students are plugged in, they’re digital, and their wired. Their relevance is so far from what we as adults determine as relevant that we are at risk of disengaging them, and not providing education that is relevant to them.

Our Schools Haven’t Changed

We’re still teaching with a mostly 19th century approach to leadership and learning. Information is sacred and must be acquired through careful study, reading, and discipline. Unfortunately, that is not how today’s students are programmed to learn.

School Leaders Are The Gatekeepers Of Change

Our school leaders are gatekeeper. That means they control not just what gets blocked, but what is allowed through. Being a gatekeeper means that all leaders must be onboard with the idea of 21st century leadership, allow allow learners and educators to freely pass through those gates that we run across in education.

(5th Truth!) The Digital Divide No Longer Refers Only To Access

The students have access to more information and resources than adults. They know more about the world than we do in some instances.

The presentation finished up with a wonderful video about how institutionalized education here in the U.S. has been struggling since the late 60s to change the way information is disseminated, and how we teach children. We’re trying to move away from the 19th century model of strict hierachy and control of information to a model that is based on collaboration and widely available information. The video then went on to share a number of quite interesting facts about how students in college right now consume media and information. I found it on TeacherTube and posted it below:

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4 Comments

  1. Great presentation…we are facing this challenge in our Building Schools for the Future programme in the UK. We are in danger of building schools of the past for the future!

  2. Roger

    Wow, what a strong video. With a daughter about to go to college it is indeed eye opening. We need to make sure that our youth has all the advantages we can give them. There are too many that will not be engaged because they can’t afford it. OLPC and other programs are going a long way but we need to ensure that affordable high speed internet access is available to all. The Communications Workers Of America are working on just that with our project, Speed Matters. Check out the website for more information at http://www.speedmatters.org

  3. Of course, the message is handicapped by the fact that 80% of the global population can’t read it. Internet penetration, you know?

  4. Powerful information. I am a Instructional Technology Specialist at an elementary school and a middle school and one of my main tasks is to get teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum and more importantly into the hands of their students. The times they are a changin…or really have changed!

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