“Do something risky today, something that makes you sweat a little.” I so wish I remembered where I read the quote that paraphrase is adapted from, but I don’t. Instead, I’m left with a feeling, an impression that goads me into action, bidding me like a fool to leap off the cliff’s edge, and long for the surf below.
|Image Source: Crowley Photos, http://goo.gl/wN2EZG|
As a technology director in a K-12 school district, doing something risky can be quite nerve-wracking. Examining the long list of what’s allowed and not allowed in schools, it’s easy to see the pendulum swinging towards more permissive use of technology. But many, as colleague Paul R Wood pointed out to me at ISTE 2013 this summer, still bemoan their fate in schools around the corner.
In a meeting today, chatting with CATE teachers at the high school in the District I serve, I marvelled at the conversation that took place. My reflection took me back, in the barest of moments, through time:
- When a classroom teacher, I longed for the freedom to install software on my school-district issued computer. When they said “No,” I did it anyways. I learned so much and it empowered to help others.
- When I worked as a district instructional technology specialist (DITS), I wished I could allocate funding in ways that would free teachers to do what they needed to so as to create enhanced, engaged learning opportunities. Unfortunately, allocating funding was in some one else’s hands so i turned to free software (e.g. freeware, shareware) and eventually, free open source software to get things done…and it made an incredible difference.
- When I worked as an education specialist for a regional service center, I prayed for the opportunity to work more closely with the technical side of the house, that had gotten separated from the instructional goals and vision critical to their being success. “Protect and guard the technology, the network” were the mantra and instruction played second fiddle.
- When I worked as a director of instructional technology, I found myself bumping up against policies and procedures that made little sense, that sought to protect the school organization from harm or danger, no matter the realities of the situation. Shrink-wrapped technology use that involved no fuss, no muss.
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