Friday, November 30, 2007

"Plan to be Better..." and "Ancora Imparo"

Plan to be better tomorrow than today, but don't plan to be finished.”
- Carol Ann Tomlinson

I read this quote today and believe that, in its simplicity, it encapsulates what many educational technologists want to see happen with educators today. You might be an extraordinary teacher...but you're not finished. None of us are.

Another, related phrase I've adopted recently: "Ancora Imparo" - I am still learning. (Michelangelo, Age 87)
This phrase reminds me of two things: 1) There is so much to learn that I need to keep the energy and enthusiasm to always be "still learning" and 2) I need to cut myself some slack - I can't know everything; I'm still learning!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Instruction vs. Function

Yesterday, I was asked by a colleague about what my job of technology trainer entails and what I want it to be. Historically, it has been very much about "functional" instruction - helping people with the Office Suite, file management, grade books, student administration programs, etc. This year, I've had the opportunity to focus more on curriculum and educational technology - CPS systems, creating graphic organizers, SMART boards, wikis, etc. What do I want it to be? I want to spend my day helping make teaching and learning better and people's jobs easier.

While I tend to push the curricular aspects of my job I have to remember what an administrator in our district says, "Don't forget the functional." If people are laboring to function with 21st century tools, the integral nature of technology in the classroom that so many of us desire will not happen; it will never be natural. Let's not do what we did in the 20th century as computers entered our schools - race ahead and leave so many teachers behind. Let's make sure we have strong, confident, efficient users who also know how to best apply skills and tools to their curriculum. We have a number those users today...and, boy, they are powerful.