I have started my second year at my current position as the Middle School Technology Integrator here at the American International School of Muscat (TAISM). Things have unrolled as I thought they might. I knew that a good number of the great ideas and plans that I had coming into the job would get buried by the unrolling of a 1:1 iPad program.
Alas, meeting regularly with teachers has not happened nearly as much as I had promised myself. I have spent more time busy tracking down lost iPads and ringing up forgotten passwords than I ever imagined I would.
But this is year two. The thundering stampede that is unrolling a 1:1 iPad program has passed me by. I am still whole, I am standing tall, and have brushed myself off. Realisations are beginning to settle like dust in my mind as I look around our school and into our classrooms. And when I look at those realisations, they tell me that something is missing here. What I mean is, yes, we are on the path that we planned for, and it has been a constructive and worthwhile path, but it is time to square up to the reality that stands between where we are and where I think we should be headed. And that reality is that we (all of us teachers, integrators, coaches, administrators and students) need to change the way we teach and how we learn if we are to move forward in a meaningful way. As I picture different stakeholders reading that last sentence I imagine a range of different reactions:
- silence (frosty)
- silence (confused)
- silence (disbelief)
- Yay! (a timid cheer)
- a hopeful “about f#$%king time!”
- and finally, “not as long as I work here.”
I am only one and a third years removed from the classroom. And that means that I can imagine all too well how I might have reacted if someone had suggested that I fundamentally change my teaching practice, which I am actually damn good at thank you very much, because all of a sudden every student is carrying around an iPad. Every time I meet with a teacher I keep this in mind.
Learning how to build this community of innovative teachers has become somewhat of a quest for me. I have talked to plenty of great educators, coaches, and administrators about this situation, which I think every (evolving) school faces in one way or another. I have had my successes in our little middle school, and I know to light a small flame of excitement in one classroom and then fan it delicately until the warmth of the growing flames begins to warm other teachers to the ideas of innovation and change. But I want more. So if you are inclined to share your ideas on this crucial piece of work, please help me to continue this conversation. I thank you in advance.