Should? Or Could?

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For more than 25 years I’ve thought a lot about the power of education to transform lives. And during that time I’ve been fascinated by the potential of technology for facilitating education. While technology provides tools for the classroom, the experiences that the technology tools provide is where their true power lies.

Apple IIc+As a first grade teacher in the late 1980s, I had an Apple IIc+ computer in a corner of my classroom. With one computer and more than 20 students, the machine became a learning center where two or three students would work together. What was interesting about the students’ work wasn’t what they learned from the software, but rather the conversations and learning that took place while the students worked collaboratively.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I participated in a technology summit at the American School of Dubai where I’m an associate principal in the elementary division. A group of educators from across our K-12 school came together to develop an updated vision and strategic plan for the use of technology. We spent three days thinking about, discussing, and imagining the role of technology in a forward-looking learning environment.

Several of the summit participants also attended the school’s previous tech summit a few years ago. At that time, their focus was on the technology itself… acquiring, deploying and maintaining hardware and software. However, at the end of our most recent tech summit these educators remarked at how the focus this time around hadn’t been on logistics, but rather it was on the learning experiences that the technology could facilitate. During one of our discussions on the first day of the summit I had a bit of an ah-ha moment. Were we focused on what our students should be doing? Or were we thinking about what our students could be doing?

How does this relate to my new blog? As an associate principal, my thinking on a day-to-day basis tends to be about the here and now. However, on this blog I’m excited about exploring the future. I’ll not focus solely on technology, although there’s no doubt that technology plays a vital role in education. What I’m most interested in is the future of education in developing the thinkers, learners, and leaders of tomorrow.

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