The thing isn’t about the thing.

“The impact of innovation on education isn’t in using technology to deliver obsolete education experiences. It lies in understanding what skills students need in the innovation era, and constructing classroom experiences that promote skills that matter.”  -Tony Wagner, Ted Dintersmith

As we continue to fine tune our ‘1:1 project’, called Fife Forward, our reading and study continually drives home the point that the ‘thing isn’t about the thing.’

Putting a device in the hands of kids means nothing, if nothing different is done with the device from a teaching and learning standpoint.  Without an examination and commitment to the possibilities of increased collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking…we might as well distribute $200 pencils.

Our good fortune in our district is that we have excellent educators in our schools. Educators willing to do all they can for all of our students.  We see their work every single day with kids. They literally recommit each day to find additional ways to support and engage more and more kids.

We are reading a book called The Leader’s Guide to 21st Century Education by Valerie Greenhill and Ken Kay.  The ask us to consider two important questions as we work.

“How is your district/school preparing its children for the demands of the 21st century?”

“Have you adopted a 21st century model of education? If not, do you need to?”

These two authors continue the urging of other educational thinkers to strongly bear mind the ‘4Cs’.  Collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.  So we will. With support, professional learning, and time. Our job is to prepare our kids for their tomorrow, not our past.

A final thought.  Can we do this?  Yes.  “We have the chance to transform the course of our lives. Doing so will mean discovering the heroism of the incremental.” –Atul Gawande

Fife Forward.

Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years.

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