Change and Relevance

Make sure that our methodology is not simply packaging old wine in new bottles. Teaching today requires a whole new vineyard.-Robert Meehan

Are you someone who embraces change?  Perhaps it depends on the circumstances.  Regardless of the situation, change happens. Sometimes it happens slowly…giving us time to adapt and accept.  Sometimes, it happens in a split second, leaving us to wonder what in the world just happened.

Recently I was discussing maps with my students.  It is a state standard in Social Studies.  We were doing a pirate themed unit and I couldn’t think of a better way to talk about maps than in the context of digging up a buried treasure. During the discussion and the showing of this awesome pirate treasure map (courtesy of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World), I noticed my students seemed a bit puzzled, maybe even skeptical.  I stopped and asked what was the problem.  One of them said, “Why didn’t the pirate just use a GPS?”  Someone else said, ” The Maps App on my iPad would show them where to go too.”  Hmmm….are maps (the old school kind that I can never fold correctly) becoming obsolete?

Technology makes our lives easier and faster in many ways. Technological advancements in medicine and business have changed the world.  So why are so many reluctant to change the way we educate children?  Money, or lack of it, is always one response.  What if you went to work and found your computers and telephones were suddenly gone.  Sorry…we just can’t afford those fancy things.  How would you do business? Could you still get the work accomplished? Perhaps…with paper and pencil, snail mail and couriers. Technology makes our work more efficient.  It also makes my teaching more efficient.  It makes their learning more engaging and accessible.

As we seek to educate children and prepare them for a successful life as an adult, we cannot pretend that technology doesn’t matter.  One at risk high school in my district that uses iPads, recovered over 700 days of instruction in just the second semester this school year that were previously lost due to discipline issues.

Today, I locked up my class iPads for the summer.  I wheeled them down the hall to be stored for the summer.  We have only 2 half days of school remaining.  I’m already making a list of things I want to do next year.  I want to do more with iMovie and iBooks Author.  Part of staying relevant means growing a new vineyard.  My teaching practices have changed as my students needs change.  Next year will bring new challenges.  I will hopefully be ready….after a nice 10 week summer vacation, of course.

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