Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How important is “getting it right?”

In a recent presentation at Maker Faire in New York City, internet marketing “guru,” Hastings resident, author and occasional education blogger Seth Godin, one of my favorite paradigm changers says, “If you’re doing something that might not work, then you are doing something important.”

It made me think about 21st Century teaching and learning and reminds me that it is very important to continue to highlight the fact that we do not have all the answers, we expect to not always get it right and we embrace the chance to “learn by doing” and try new things while embracing “failure.”

Isn’t this what we are telling kids about learning? 

In his recent TED book Why School,? Will Richardson, educator, blogger, speaker and colleague who recently presented at our Dobbs Ferry Schools Superintendent’s Conference Day talks about the notion that traditional schools were designed for a society where knowledge was scarce. He writes about an earlier society that needed to attend school in order to acquire knowledge and information.

In contrast, our world today is one of knowledge over-load. Information is everywhere. The challenge becomes one of filtering and collecting data, news, statistics, facts, figures and intelligence in order to “make meaning” and understand a new reality. As educators, this is a seismic shift in our roles and our thinking.

In pondering the opportunities and challenges, I am very heartened to be surrounded by teachers, administrators and a Board of Education in Dobbs Ferry that embraces this new landscape. Since the end of school last year, we have made a collective commitment to working together to understand how technology can help us expand and change the way that we think about teaching and learning. This is not just geared to our students, but for us too.

This week, we will debut our first monthly staff coordinated and driven professional development sessions designed to help us share our knowledge about technology tools with each other. The entire initiative is grounded in the idea that none of us are experts, but we have ALL learned some new-age instructional and technology skills over the last few months and feel comfortable about sharing these with our colleagues. We are ALL working to find ways to connect new ideas with new pathways for student learning.

In Dobbs Ferry, we recognize that traditional economics may be scarce, but in-house we have no shortage of talent, dedication and passion for teaching and learning.  And so ….sometimes we may not always get things right ……but we know for sure that we are doing something important.

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