Here’s one conclusion of many I’ve come to adopt about how the traditions of school fail both teachers and learners:
Access to contemporary learning tools is as important as extraordinary teaching for learners to be successful. Expecting a learner, and a teacher, to use any tool s/he needs to access learning should be an educational basic; indeed, a learning non-negotiable. We educators should be embarrassed to possess tools that create pathways to learning and not make them available to any learner who needs them.
Those responsible for setting funding priorities in Washington and our state houses should be held accountable for moving swiftly to close the widening opportunity gap created by an economic digital divide. Teachers and learners can’t accomplish 21st century learning work without tools and training.
Those responsible for ensuring that educators have access to the professional learning they need to use contemporary learning tools to power up learning should be held accountable to that- including me. This means moving professional learning through the classroom doors so that young people can access tools to create, design, make, engineer, build, produce, and conceptualize work that challenges the hands to think and the mind to act.
Those responsible for using contemporary tools in classrooms so that all learners’ gain access to challenging, engaging, joyful learning should be held accountable for doing what’s necessary to create learning spaces for that work to happen.
Responsibility lives along a multi-level, two way street. We all need to consider our role in advancing the learning work our young people require. It’s our job to provide our kids with the best we have to offer. It’s our job to stay current with professional skill sets. Its our job to advocate for the resources we need to do the job we’re hired to do.
We may not accomplish what we attempt. We may fail in our efforts. But, when it’s all said and done, we all need to be able to say we never avoided taking responsibility for doing the right thing for our young people.