Friday, March 23, 2007

What about THIS generation?

The subject of new teachers and their use of technology in the classroom seems to be coming up a lot lately. As a high school technology trainer, this subject is near and dear to my heart. Will Richardson wrote recently about talking with The Next Generation of Teachers. In speaking with graduate students, Richardson told them,

"You know, there’s a lot of pressure on you in my circles because many people think nothing is going to change until the old guard retires out and you guys take over.”

While I agree with this statement to some extent, the issue I have with the concept is that, at this point, the "old guard" has been teaching the next generation how to teach. We are looking for a fundamental change here, a transformation from ground zero. Ryan Bretag (my edtech "partner in crime" and great inspiration) responded to Richardson's post and discovered in doing a spot check of local universities that the educational technology preparation around here was woefully lacking for their pre-service teachers. If we don't convert the old guard, that change will be painfully slow.

The shift so many of us so desperately seek is not going to magically happen because new people are coming in the door. We seem to be waiting for a "Friedman flat-world-esque convergence" to happen. We need the will, the means, the support, the energy, the desire, the faith, the tools and the means to come together. It's bigger than "young people will do it"; the old guard needs to buy in now to generate real power real soon. We need to create what Gladwell would call "positive epidemics" of our own in our own schools.


I've been inspired lately by the blogs of Will Richardson, Dave Jakes and Ryan Bretag. After observing the Educational Blogosphere for some time, dabbling in blogging here and there, and now having a challenging and insightful "partner in crime" in Ryan, I find myself itching to speak. I have never been one to journal professionally or personally and certainly not one air my thoughts for the world to see but, and I know this is painfully obvious, once you immerse yourself in this community you can't help but want to join in.

Here I am, a perfect example of a "non-writer" anxious to write. And for whom? Primarily me. I was struck this morning by David Warlick's post about the fact that, even though our posts are public, we are often "laying trails" for ourselves. My challenge lately has been to examine my own professional development and growth. The urge to write very much stems from the need to see where I've been, where I'm going and how I got there.