1. Changes are here, not coming or in the future.
  2. Act on your creativity by making technology relevant to your work.
  3. Engage students with collaborative acts of creativity.

Driving back from East Texas earlier today after having spent a wonderful morning keynoting the Woodville ISD Convocation–you have to love a District that begins with a prayer and ends with the school song beautifully sung, and celebrates moving forward together and achieving their goals–on Embracing Technology for Positive Change, I found myself reflecting on some of the insights I’d gained from listening to the Superintendent of Woodville ISD.

  1. The sweetest moment after giving a talk is when the Superintendent connects the information and ideas in your talk to the mission of the school district, connecting it to teachers’ salaried futures (more on that in a moment). It is a rare moment (for me) to have that kind of validation from Superintendent level staff, and I’m grateful I had the chance to experience that.
  2. After sharing on the importance of online learning, changing national/international standards in regards to technology, I listened to the Superintendent when he highlighted the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN.org) and emphasized how important it was for teachers to get going with this or face losing funding as children stayed home and availed themselves of TxVSN.org courses and home-school. I literally “fell” deeper (in rapture) into my seat as I heard these words, having seen how many larger districts (read disclaimer below lest you jump to conclusions) have chosen to disregard the law in regards to Virtual Schools in Texas. This topic deserves a longer blog post soon.
  3. Moodle really IS a Trojan Horse for bringing online learning into schools, forget that assortment of cloud-based computing tools! Consider this excerpt from an article I wrote some time ago:

    …the ability of people with a computer and internet access to publish their ideas at will, and other’s ability to access those ideas–often in spite of network technicians best efforts to stop them–is changing how we work. Yet, access to these technologies in many districts remains a dream. School districts have worked to block our access to these technologies out of fear. Many educators are left trying to pick the “school district” lock that forces them to use only what has been approved by the “curriculum illuminati” in K-12 schools. In stark contrast to these restrictions, Moodle exists as a compromise, a trojan horse of Read/Write Web technologies, a tool to develop engaging professional learning opportunities for adult and K-12 learners. (Source)

In a phone conversation with Wes Fryer (SpeedofCreativity.org) today, reflecting on the challenges we all face as educators in sharing the gospel of connecting/creating/collaborating, it’s clear there is a lot of work to do. One of the challenges, Wes pointed out, was the fear in schools…blocks exist for many technologies.

As I was considering this perspective on how fear holds us back in schools, this quote from a colleague popped up in my email:

In overcoming fear and sharing our stories with others, we find the truth about who we really are—and discover that we’re not alone.

~ Lisa Hammond

 I can look back at this morning with hope that, at least in one district “behind the Pine Curtain,” as one district employee put it with some laughter, that the need for change is being acted upon.

Below is my keynote presentation to Woodville ISD, and I’m thrilled I had the chance to share so many positive stories for embracing technology with them.

Embracingtechforchange august2010c

View more presentations from mguhlin.

Update: Ginger Lewman, a colleague out in the edublogosphere, shared this quote that I find particularly relevant to our need to change…

“Our teaching and learning habits are useful but they can also be deadly. They are useful when the conditions in which they work are predictable and stable. They are deadly if and when the bottom falls out of the stable social world in and which for we learn.” Source: Zigmunt Bauman

Follow the conversation online via Plurk.com, a social networking site.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure