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

6 thoughts on “Old wine in new bottles?

  1. Love the “guide by the side” model! What a great way to learn!

    I have a similar impatience. Involved in planning a local web 2.0 meet-up event and there are only 4 of us attending. Teachers keep saying it isn’t a good month for them, but every month seems to not be a good month. I think if you really want to learn, grown and help others learn; you make time! Right?!


  2. Thanks so much for your comment. I totally agree, there’s never going to be the perfect moment for PD for all, and it’s those people that jump in and give it a go anyway that are the agents of change for your schools. I’m thankful for those that do!


  3. That quote really sticks with me too! I am like minded and impatient too with teachers moving forward to using ICT as a tool not an addition to the learning programme. There is a great You Tube clip about changing the DNA of teachers which immediately came to mind when thinking about the old wine/new bottles ananolgy.
    I commend your school for moving in a new direction in your role next year, this will be wonderful professional development for the teachers and it will make them realise, it CAN be done, they CAN do it, and it ENGAGES students and ultimately RAISES achievement.
    I look forward to reading how this will go next year for you! Well done, you are not alone!


  4. Thanks Justine, great to know I’m not the only impatient one! My next mission is to make next year’s model uber-successful. Following that? World domination!


  5. “…organic to the new mediums..”
    Using web 2.0 and multimedia to create, co-create web 2.0 content and digital objects that are shared globally. A huge shift for many teachers still caught up in the paper and pencil world.

    I agree with you, guide the teachers who want to, they’ll be the real catalysts and as they gather momentum others will be caught in the flow or wither in their wake.


  6. Hi!
    Cool blog! I really enjoyed that post, especially how you used the quote that was a metaphor of sorts. I think technology is a great way for students/teachers/schools all over the world to connect. It bridges the gap that distance causes and adds a new element to teaching.
    Please visit my blog: dominiquelovestoread.edublogs.org


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