The measure of a teacher

Wesley Fryer’s recent blog post entitled Sharing by default and encouraging others to shareprompted me to share this super video about Creative Commons, called ‘A Shared Culture.’

When I began teaching, I wanted to keep my good work to myself – I wanted that fun learning experience to be something I gave the kids in my classroom. In truth, I probably wanted recognition for my work (hey, I was only 22!).

Now, 10 years on, I believe the measure of a good teacher is how much they share. I know that imitation is the highest form of flattery. I don’t want to hold on to my best ideas/lessons/websites/activities/flipcharts etc etc – I want to share them so that more students and teachers can learn with them, build on them and improve them.

I am a great believer in collaboration, and know that the quality of work I produce with others, and the ideas and suggestions I gain from others, far exceeds the work I am capable of producing on my own.

Pass it on…

Old wine in new bottles?

Thoughts have been percolating in my head about 21st century literacy, digital tools and skills. UWCSEA is at a tipping point, and we’re moving in a new direction for ICT next school year.

Currently, when I take each class for ICT, the classroom teacher is released. My sessions relate closely to what the teachers are doing in their classes, wherever possible.

Next year, I will not be providing ICT lessons for each class on a weekly basis, but will instead work with each class in depth 2 times a year. I will plan and teach alongside the classroom teachers (the guide by the side), so that the skills involved are not only passed on to the students, but to the teachers as well. We are adopting the ISTE NETS, and I will be meeting the rest of the ICT team to look at how we can integrate them into our existing skills and curriculum plans.

It’s a big step for the school, and I am very proud that we are making it, but it will be a giant leap for many teachers. There needs to be a lot of modeling, supporting, scaffolding and enthusiasm for it to work effectively.

That said, I don’t want to squander the opportunity we have to revolutionize the way we are teaching by doing the same old things in new ways. When reading the editorial in the latest TIME magazine, I came across a quote from Richard Stengel, which resonated with me:

…for we must adapt to new technology, and not simply by putting old wine in new bottles. We need to adapt by creating our content in a way that is organic to those new mediums.

It is easy to take existing tasks and inject technology into them. Indeed, maybe that is an initial step, one that is necessary to take in order to move to the next level. Perhaps teachers need to add some tools to their digital toolbox before they can start creating new experiences for their students. I’m talking about experiences which involve not just the addition of technology, but working and thinking in new ways, which technology enables us to do. I don’t have all the answers or examples, just a feeling about it all.

I am impatient to make global connections de rigueur, to get teachers involved in developing their PLN’s, to get people as excited about technology use as I am! Is it too much to ask?

I guess I’m at the tip of the iceberg…

Photo credit: cindyt7070