Today, in the general session, our speaker was Will Richardson, published author, school reform advocate, and long-ago English teacher. He discussed how teachers and administrators must transform schools to accomodate the new digital world we now live in, and how to win back our disengaged students.
This was not a revelation for me; I have been listening to the students complain, and I am stuck in that perpetual power struggle between the student, technology, and school boards that dictate policy....digital policy that is outdated and ineffective, and serves only the technologically challenged. Our students are advanced, have new ideas, and are only lacking bandwidth, not knowledge. Knowledge is readily accessible, but you must know how to discover it, and sort through the facts versus the fiction; our students need guidance, mentoring, and digital literacy training.
During the summer school session at lunchtime, a teacher announced that she was sick of "digital literacy" and she wasn't planning on ever teaching it again. For her, the total sum of digital literacy means that your students will no longer record bathroom fistfights or take the phone out during the STAAR exam. But digital literacy is so much more than just manners, and I was thankful for Will Richardson's excellent presentation because it exemplified this problem.
It is my hope that someday my students will be free to blog, Tweet, and snapchat on the topics of the day during their classes. It is my hope that I will work in a school that is open-minded about access, and will give my students the freedom to learn from "strangers" around the world.
It is my hope that I will work in a school that appreciates the English teacher that writes, practices, and exercises professional and personal power using the worldwideweb, because this teacher is truly qualified to lead our children into a future where boundaries and borders are diminished, and education is redefined.