Thursday, May 5, 2011

Everything Works! Nothing Works!

Which side of the bed did you wake up on today?

On any given day, we wake up ready for all the information thrust at us. We must as educators make good sound decisions. The truth is that somedays, we are so overwhelmed that we say no to everything. We find reasons for them not to work. Some of the reasons are even good ones: equity, management, student distractions, high stakes testing. But none of these issues are really reason enough not to move forward if we truly believe that providing new tools or instruction are the right thing to do.

On the other hand, there are days that we wake up and it is just easier to go with the flow. Perhaps we start to believe that we are just a negative Nelly. Maybe we feel like the rest of the world is moving forward and we'd better jump on board. Whatever the reason, it is not any more useful to say yes to everything than it is to say no to everything.

So what are the criteria for deciding which ideas are winners and which are losers? The more i think about it, the more I land here:

It doesn't matter. Pick something. Commit to it. Get everyone to commit to it. Move forward.

If you are committed to a 1:1 program, commit. Make it happen. If you are committed to creating blended learning environments to encourage collaboration, then commit. If you are committed to using digital storytelling tools or mobile devices or web 2.0 tools or google apps or teaching digital literacy or online safety, commit.

The amount of time spent talking about it, questioning it, rethinking it, arguing it, pondering it, etc... is squandering valuable time that our students need. Get the kids in, get them on, get them moving forward. There are many paths to digital literacy, 21st century skills, data driven decision making, etc... It's time to move forward with something and stop waiting for the perfect thing.

I spend so much time talking to teachers, administrators, community members, etc... fielding "what if" questions, possible scenarios, possible pitfalls. Start building. 80% of our questions will figure themselves out. The other 20% we will have to deal with as they come up.

Let's make a bold step. Our kids will be the better for it.