Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shifting Sands

Believe it or not, educational technology is only one part of my job description as Director of Faculty Development.  I also facilitate teacher evaluation and formation.  Throw in support for a couple of strategic plan initiatives and chairing the Department of Information and Media Services.  My head is a busy place to be…

The benefit of being so cross-curricular (dare I say cross-platform) is that I see everything.  I see the classroom, the IT cave, faith formation and Jesuit Identity, marketing, library services.  I have daily conversations about curriculum development, assessment practices, classroom management, technology integration, access-evaluation-retrieval, advertising, strategic planning, Indiana state law.  I have even been known to move furniture and collaborate with electricians.

This morning, in a fit of “hey, I got some sleep” my brain was piecing together all I’ve seen this week… and what is beginning to synthesize is an idea of “Shifting Sands”.  It’s not just technology that is changing.  It’s not just learning theory.  It’s not just evaluation of teachers or students… it’s everything.  To borrow a rather trite analogy… it’s like shifting sand… the ground beneath education is literally shifting.  I am a storyteller for youth worship at my husband's parish. When the story of the week takes place in the desert - the text begins "The desert is a strange and wild place...The winds blow... moving and shaping the sand...the desert is never the same."  One could argue the same goes for education.

This loss of solid grounding is intimidating and a little panic inducing but necessary.   The rock of multiple choice tests to assess learning, the teacher as sage, the student as recipient, the school day as 8:00am – 3:15pm…the overhead projector... it’s all shifting.  It’s also why education pundits and legislators don’t get it.  They are stuck in a vision of education from their childhood through the lens of their childhood experience.  The trick is, education is alive because it exists through the lives of the students filling the halls (literal and electronic). It is never the same.

I’ll be exploring this idea of shifting sands over the next week or so in several posts (unlike JD – I prefer to write in short segments).  Interesting in hearing your thoughts along the way so please engage in conversation in the box below!

1 comment:

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