Each year I've prepared a reports for our BOT, outlining what we are doing with IT and e-learning. Term 4 always has a wrap-up of the year and a look ahead to the next. I finished this year's report with this text.
I'd like to think that every school community across Aotearoa is able to say the same. Our schools are, on the whole, and despite the often downwards spiral around our profession, places where many, many rich and rewarding opportunities occur every day.
We need them to continue to be so.
2013 has seen an ongoing integration of digital technologies. We have made an investment in lifting teacher capacity in the use of these digital technologies and worked with students on using specific tools to support their learning.
Staff and students have responded well to the changes and the pressures that this sort of shift requires. We need to continue to make specific time in our programmes to embed these changes, encouraging playful exploration of these tools, but focusing on how and why we are using them in our literacy, mathematics and integrated studies programmes.
Throughout 2013, we have spoken about this shift being about “how we do what we do” here at [our school]. Despite the hype machine, these tools are not transformative learning devices, instead they are merely an intrinsic part of how we and our students live, work and play.
The reality is that many of our students are comfortable working in both analogue and digital worlds. While there is fear and confusion for many of us as adults, we need to keep seeing the potential of the world our students are moving into, and continue to be the guiding forces alongside them as they do so.
The challenge for the coming years is to balance the analogue means and ways with the digital demands and potentials. The depth to which these digital tools are useful and make our lives more worth living, is a direct reflection of how much discipline and control we continue to maintain over them. Our role as adults is to model that discipline, that critical approach to how we learn and what we learn-to continue to constantly pay attention to what really matters.
Ultimately this shift isn’t about the tools, digital or analogue. It’s about the mental models around the role of a school within a community, and how it delivers the learning experiences that the community demands. What we continue to do at [our school] will be to offer rich and rewarding learning experiences. The tools may change, but that challenge remains the same.