04 Aug A challenge for Partners in Learning
I’m the luckiest ICT-coordinator in Belgium. My principal invests in ICT as much as the budget allows him to. But most importantly I get to work with colleagues that want to innovate, try new things, are not afraid of technology and use ideas in a creative way. When I launched the idea of using qr-codes to link their worksheets to our online project videos on Jonatan Academy, I immediately got some nice responses from colleagues. They say our school is like a high speed train of innovation, but they can’t wait to try out the new technology.
Islands of innovation
But I know it’s not the case for everyone. When I attended the Microsoft Partners in Learning Institute last year it was a wide spread complaint: “I try to be innovative and use technology, but some of fellow teachers teach in exactly the same way as twenty years ago”. Some of the innovative teachers are really islands of technology in a sea of medieval teaching.
I saw the Microsoft Partners in Learning US Highlights movie today and saw how inspired the attending teachers were. They liked discussing their projects with likeminded teachers with the same passion for creativity and innovation. They are talking about “paying it forward” and how “Passion is contagious”. Feelings I can relate to after attending the Microsoft Partners in Learning European Forum. It’s great that those forums all around the world bring “über creative teachers” together. In the keynotes they get inspired even more and are immersed in a bath of 21st century skills.
But there is one problem…
Preaching to the choir
Teachers attending a forum in a country, a continent or the global forum already showed they have innovative and creative minds. No one in that room has to be convinced that our society has changed and that change in the classroom has to go with it. They know it’s not about the devices, nor is it about the software, it’s about how you use them to get students to be smarter, lifelong learning and happy people.
It’s great to get the teachers even more excited, and show them even more ways to make education better. And more, better and newer technologies will never stop to amaze them. But in my humble opinion there’s one skill that is even more important for these “superstar teachers”.
If you think changing your own teaching is hard… try convincing other teachers about doing the same. How to get them in the same mindset as yourself? Getting others to copy your project in their classroom isn’t going to help. You have to find a way to get in their brain and change their attitude. We want to teach kids that it’s not about what you know, it’s about being able to keep on learning what you need. But how do you do that with teachers who have been told that they’re a teacher for the rest of their life once they get their degree.
My challenge for Microsoft Partners in Learning
In Belgium there’s an organization that specializes in teaching people how to bring innovation to companies by organizing brainstorms, events en workshops in the company. They are coaching the people who have to inspire others to be more creative and innovative. And I’m sure there are thousands of consultants around the world who do the exact same thing.
So that’s my challenge for Microsoft Partners in Learning: get your superstar teachers from around the world and teach them the best ways give innovation a high flight in their schools. Show them how to convince their colleagues who are reluctant to change. I just know, lots of teachers are waiting for it.