EdJEWcon inspired me to take my first steps. I just spent the past 3 days learning with and from an incredible group of educators and the way I think about and use technology for teaching and learning will never be the same.
Heidi Hayes Jacobs points out that we have 21st century students learning 20th century curriculum in 19th century school versions. The task is overwhelming – with so many significant issues facing our schools, do we now really have to think about upgrading and doing it NOW? Leaving Jacksonville, the answer I took away is YES! Otherwise, the learners will not engage – it will not be in their language and in their context. It will not be relevant to the learner. As a Jewish educational leader working in a communal setting I left the conference with many questions both for myself – how do I begin to use and model these very tools? – and for the community I serve – how do I collaborate with a ‘coalition of the willing’, the early adopters, to impress upon our colleagues and communal leaders that we have no choice but to move into the 21st Century – into NOW? Too much is at stake for us not to take these steps, the world is changing faster than ever before.
Heidi also points out that the new pedagogy is “self-navigation” with the teacher as coach and co-learner with the student. If that’s the case, then we need educators who have the appropriate skills and attitudes to support students in navigating through their learning. This has significant implications for how we prepare, induct, and support teachers in their practice.
This is my first blog post and as I ask myself – why now? (besides the fact that Andrea, Silvia and Jon asked us to try it), I think about something a dear friend often points out to me, which is that I like to talk things out to process my ideas. I learned this week that blogging and tweeting are the “new” forms of communication that expand our world – that make it global…I am following Angela Maiers’ encouragement when she told us all “you are a genius and the world demands your contribution.” As I take these first steps into expanding my learning in this way, I wonder how many of our learners would flourish if they received the same message and had the tools with which to do so as part of their daily learning environment?