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Making it Real

I read a great post by Erik Palmer in the ASCD Edge Network Community for educators with the heading "10 years in and still not with it." It was a simple post written by a teacher attending a conference and confronted with a speaker discussing 21st Century education. I chuckled at his cynicism and guessed it has been honed over a decade of attending such lectures where teachers are shown “cool new tools and barraged with lists of cool websites” but where nothing is achieved because attendees are “buried” in information.

He called this experience the “wrong approach to teaching about 21st Century skills" as rather than engaging our nations teachers in these in-service opportunities, organizers lose them to side conversations, email checking and “playing solitaire” until the conference ends.

I thought this was ironic as so often I read that our nation's children experience the same ennui and sense of disconnect because they too are buried in information that has no relevance. The good thing is, this post was not just a cynical rant. Palmer finished up by imploring the Powers that Be to refrain from forcing teacher participants to spend eight hours being shown the latest and greatest 3D projectors, whiteboards, interactive classroom projectors, short throw classroom projectors, computers gadgets sites and software and instead, use that valuable time to show them one new tool AND how to integrate it into the lesson plan. Rather than seeing this as an inefficient use of time, they need to “make it real” and in this way achieve valid change.

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