I am a high school educator at a mid-sized Catholic high school in Columbus, Ohio. This blog is:
EMERGENT: “Calling for prompt action” or “newly formed or prominent.” As experienced educators I observe daily that teaching techniques of previous times are not impactful on our 21st century students. My students, with school-issued iPad2’s in their hands, smart phones in their pockets, high definition television and video games at home, and access to the world via the internet everywhere they go, do not learn in the same ways that my colleagues and I learned even a decade or two ago. We need to learn, change and grow as professionals rather than try in vain to contort our students to prior learning styles. This is urgent as everyday they are disengaged, bored or tuned out in our classes because our teaching methods don’t match their learning styles, is a day wasted.
DIVERGENT: I feel our vision of expanded pedagogy using educational technology places us in the minority in our context. I teach Religion – a discipline where rote memorization of esoteric facts still frequently happens in classrooms. I want to help all teachers, especially those who teach in the subject areas I know best, learn how to more easily, efficiently and effectively use educational technology to enhance as many of their lessons as possible.
INSURGENT: The sound of this word reminds me of “in-service” which is the way that most teachers learn how to integrate technology. My experience of these in-services, in the various schools where I’ve taught, hasn’t always been positive. Too often “tech in-services” are at inconvenient times, focused on a “sage on the stage” and his or her LCD projected screen, contain unilateral communication, and focus on technologies which may or may not be relevant to the classroom. I want to overthrow this top-down, one-way paradigm. Information about best-practices in educational technology should be free, relevant and accessible. It should be shared in organic ways which empower, inspire, challenge and reward the teacher/users.
I’m inspired in this task by a trio of saints who changed the Church in the 13th century and whose impact is still felt today. St. Francis of Assisi, his friend Saint Clare, and her younger sister St. Agnes of Assisi were insurgents in their time. Understanding their mission to be to “rebuild the Church,” Francis, Clare and Agnes formed communities based upon simplicity, openness to change, hope for tomorrow, compassion, collegiality, and connection. I believe these saints will help all of us to bring these qualities to the work done through this blog.
CONVERGENT: Finally, I want this to be a place where colleagues can come together. Since this blog is for teachers and by teachers, I hope many voices can be heard. So, please comment on the posts. If you’d like to post yourself, contact me through the link and I’ll arrange it. Give feedback on how I’m doing. And, as you strive to ask questions, develop your technology skills, learn from mistakes, and more effectively teach your students, know that you are not alone in these endeavors.
Best wishes for all of your educational work,
Please note: All of the viewpoints and opinions on this blog are mine and not necessarily those of my employer or any related group or organization.