This week, I attended another international education conference — the first annual Nassau Educational Technology Conference (NET.1). It was the first of its kind to be held in the Bahamas. There were over 200 educators from the Bahamas and several other surrounding island nations. Often, as American educators, we are faced with the day-to-day problems of our own system and are unaware of the challenges and real obstacles faced by other countries as they also strive to educate their youth. Many of the things that we take for granted are almost non-existent in other countries.
Poverty in any country seems to be the biggest obstacle to a proper education, but the problems of poverty in a poor country seem to compound the issues almost beyond solution. There was an evident commonality, however, that could be found in the passion for education in the hearts of all of the educators in attendance.…
Many of us can get comfortable in the behaviors we use to lead others. It’s easy to continue doing the things we’ve been doing in the same way we’ve been doing them.
Sometimes, we’re not even aware until someone points it out. Your place of comfort allows your head and heart a bit of rest in your crazy world, so you’re on automatic when you go there. Some common examples:
- You just received a promotion to a senior executive position. This requires you to be less tactical and more visionary and strategic. Yet here you are, still stuck in the weeds of tactics and day-to-day management because this is what you’ve done your entire career. You’re very good at it, and it’s easy. But you have this little voice that you’ve ignored — it’s telling you that your impact isn’t what it could be.
- You’ve found that expressing your anger is a good tool for you.
As a teacher, you can see it right away.
The excitement on the faces of students. A whole classroom of laptops, lids raised. The expectation that the learning experience can and will be different.
Seeing this, what would be the first question that you would ask?
It can be anything. But make sure it’s good.
Adding devices into a school is potentially one of the most disruptive things that can be done to the educational climate of a school. A classroom with devices is a different place, capable of a different learning dynamic, capable of a different conversation about how students learn, and capable of developing new types of relationships between teachers and students. So, that first question is critical.
What is the first question you would ask? What would you want to know?
I have a pretty good idea of what the first question is.
I’m betting that most would want to know about how the device works with things they already do.…
Over the last four years, states and school districts across America have embraced an enormous set of urgent challenges with real courage: raising standards to prepare young people to compete in the global economy, developing new assessments, rebuilding accountability systems to meet the needs of each state and better serve at-risk students, and adopting new systems of support and evaluation for teachers and principals. Meeting this historic set of challenges all at once asks more of everybody, and it’s a tribute to the quality of educators, leaders, and elected officials across this country that so many have stepped up.
One crucial change has been the state-led effort to voluntarily raise standards. That effort dates back to 2006, when a bipartisan core of leaders — governors, state superintendents, business people — came together because they recognized that America’s students needed to be prepared to compete in a global economy that demanded more than basic skills.…