Why change? Why now?

**This is also being posted on http://wsfcsintouch.blogspot.com

For the past several months, I have been preaching to district and school level technology staff that we must spend a MINIMUM of 15 minutes a day learning new information. This will not keep us ahead of technology and learning but it will help us keep the pace. Each day, I find myself spending more and more time (mostly at home much to my husband’s chagrin) and it does get my head “spinning” to quote Carol Grandy.


During my time last night catching up on my Google Reader and my Twitter feeds, I came across the video above on YouTube. Although I have used other videos to discuss change and the 21st century skills, this may be my new favorite. I have now watched it several times, stopped and started it, and written down a few notes…


“Every device turned off is potentially a turned off child.”

By school board policies, we ask our children to check their devices at the door. We worry about the cheating and the lack of attention paid to school work. As I read David Warlick’s post on AUP dated today May 8, 2008, I found myself cheering for a school who is thinking outside of the box and connecting kids rather than disconnecting kids. Here is what he said…

Then, taking a minute to thumb through the April issue of Technology & Learning Magazine (Welcome Kevin Hogan), I ran across six schools in Brooklyn who have given cell phones to their students — a total of about 2,500. Each phone is preloaded with with 130 minutes of talk time. Students can be rewarded with additional minutes for good behavior, attendance, homework, and test scores.

Kids are living in the “NEARLY NOW” It is not quite synchronous. It is a place to reflect, research, and repeat. It is a great world for learning.

Don’t we want this for our students? Don’t we want this for us? As educators, we need the time to process the information coming at us and then reflect on what it means to us. If that becomes part of our daily practice, we can model it for our students.

“We have a classroom system when we could have a community system.”

No matter what your politics are, we ALL know “it takes a village.” Our system is trying to focus on developing Professional Learning Communities. 21st Century Skills call for global awareness. We need to think big not small.

“If I want the students to make global connections, give the tools to the teachers first. Provide them with opportunities [for global connections].”

Our kids are starting to understand global connections. It is time to get our teachers to rethink the possibilities. As I moved from my classroom to a school-level position to a district-level position, my eyes were opened to my community and that allowed me to have a better understanding of my roles and responsibilities. Students and teachers will benefit from connecting with others. It can be the most powerful staff development/learning environment. A great example of this is Twitter. As I began to use Twitter, I quickly was in touch with educators from around the world. Suddenly, I heard about projects and resources being shared by classrooms from different countries, states, and systems.

21st Century Learning is not about memorizing facts. Do you know how to find information, validate it, synthesize it, leverage it, communicate it, collaborate with it, and problem solve it?

This became clear to me a little over a year ago when, at NCaect, Will Richardson spoke and posed the question, “Is it important to memorize the state capitals or know how to find the answer?” Karl Fisch states in his “Did You Know 2.0” video that by 2010 information will be doubling every 72 hours. How can kids memorize information (all new information) every 72 hours? Isn’t it more important to teach students how to harness the power of information, evaluate it, and communicate it?

“Teach a man to fish…”


How exciting! I want to be part of a community that is focused on learning for all. Why change? Why now? Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach says, “Teachers who don’t use technology will be replaced by teachers who do.” I plan on working for schools for a long time. Hope you’ll join me!

4 thoughts on “Why change? Why now?

  1. Beautifully laid out and articulated. I think that fear is too often the barrier to change and I’m starting to think that we as educators might not have the right to be afraid. If we want to do right by our customers, we MUST stay relevant and ready and be with kids as they learn and grow in emerging spaces. This brave model is an exciting one as well.


  2. Thanks Kevin! I actually have the privilege of beginning a project called Teach 21 at Bolton Elementary School in Winston. There are 18 brave and inspiring teachers and support staff (including the principal, curriculum coordinators and many more) who have agreed that they have to change their school climate to one that will support 21st century students. There is over 30 hours of training and collaboration included for next year. I can’t wait!


  3. Great post, Marlo, and thanks for bringing that Pearson video to my attention. Beautifully done. I met Stephen Heppell a few months ago in Toronto, and he really does have a wonderfully compelling way of wording things to make you imagine alternative options. The “Nearly Now” is one. Or perhaps it’s the accent 😉It’s all why I’m trying to promote AUPs as a proactive and enabling tool instead of a limiting “cover my ass” tool.Thanks for continuing the conversation!— dave —


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