In the Knowledge Age there is one constant. Educators must embrace this constant to ensure student learning needs are met. That constant is Change.
Consider for a minute how much has changed in society since Social Media became popular.
- August 2003 - MySpace began shaping Social Media
- July 2005 - MySpace was purchased for $580 Million
- 2006 - Facebook and Twitter were becoming players in the social media game
- June 2006 - MySpace surpassed Google as the most visited website in the US
- 2008 - Facebook surpasses MySpace in popularity.
- 2010 - Pinterest launches by invitation only, as programmers worked out of a small apartment
- 2011 - MySpace use is quickly declining
- October 2013 - Pinterest now worth $3.8 Billion - 3 years after launching
Take a moment to wrap your mind around those facts. Before the mid 2000's nobody could have understood the impact Social Media would play on society today.
If we stop to take a moment to think about how social media has changed the news media landscape the same reality sets in. For most of our lives we relied on news media outlets to provide information about the world. Today, we can live stream with someone in a war torn country, or watch just about anything from anywhere in real time, even sitting in our car while in traffic. The news from around the world is now at our fingertips and more mobile than ever before. For our students in school today, this is the world they know. This is the world they live in. This is just one of many examples of what we need to be evaluating in regard to student learning. We must recognize where our "audience" is or we will become obsolete.
Education reforms and ideas come and go. Often times the joke is that if you wait long enough the new buzzword or trend will be replaced with another soon, and what you are being asked to do today will be forgotten. One could say that change has always been the constant in education. In many cases when you look at what students are asked to do, significant changes are incredibly slow in reality. The problem lies with the fact that in the Knowledge Era the world is changing at a faster rate than ever before. Technology has been the accelerator for these changes and graduating students today must be equipped to deal with the world they face. A world that embraces CHANGE like never before.
Once we have accepted the fact that change is our new reality, we can begin to move forward with finding the best ways to reach students, and impact learning. The importance of relationships in the learning process will remain important. These relationships will allow us to truly understand our learners' needs. What are we doing currently to ensure that we understand our audience? Are we actively engaging our students, parents, and community in setting goals for what our schools are offering? Are we doing all we can to create an environment for learning, that prepares students to learn how to deal with change?
Finally, if we recognize this need, are we doing all we can as educators to model how this looks? I often fight with myself on where and how to push people to look at new things, especially in technology. One argument is often made that there is not enough time to teach the "lesson" and still deal with all the tech issues that might come up. I fully understand this argument, but in reality what we are doing by giving up right away is showing our students that it is ok to stick with what is comfortable or safe. In turn if we can model how to work through challenges and face them head on, we are serving as an example of perhaps the greatest life skill. The skill of being able to adapt to change. Sure our content is what we get measured by on paper and must be considered. I believe strongly that students who understand how to adapt to new challenges will be absorbing enough of the content in your lessons that they will fair well on a test.
As we navigate the new 7 C's of education, each week we will look at why each is important. I hope that as educators we embrace the importance of helping our students prepare for and react to change. This life skill will serve them in many more ways than the Pythagorean Theorem. This life skill is most easily taught by modeling the behavior in our own professional learning. Are you ready to embrace change, and look to discover the buried treasures that follow? It starts with one small step, simply read this series of blog posts as you begin your journey.