Educators...Choose Amazon

As a Twitter junkie I was reading some tweets on a Sunday morning while drinking coffee, when I stumbled across the following tweet from my friends in the Waukesha Technology Department:

The article entitled iPads in the Classroom: the Promise and the Problems is a fantastic look the why iPads should be used in the classroom, the potential pitfalls, and measures of success.  In particular there was one paragraph that caught my eye:

Indeed, integrating new technologies isn’t easy. Consider two non-education related examples:      

Amazon and Blockbuster. Amazon built itself from the ground up in response to technical innovation and — because it was willing to let go of the old retail model — transformed the way people shop. Blockbuster attempted, too late and without much commitment, to staple some technology onto its old business model. Today, of course, that company no longer exists.

Often I engage in discussions about technology and its use in the classroom. Many times people are trying to make traditional learning happen within the context of the iPad. While this may be ok for some lessons, for the most part teachers need to rethink what their classrooms, education, and learning could and should look like when every student has an iPad/device.

Technology can allow educators to do wonderful things in the classroom, but two critical things must be present:

1. A highly motivated teacher willing to question the status quo on education

2. The belief that challenging the status quo of education is the moral imperative for our   students

If educators choose the Blockbuster model, and try to make a square peg fit a round hole we are missing the opportunity of a generation. We sit in the drivers seat of education at time in which we can keep up with business, industry, and the rest of the world by innovating and utilizing the great leverage of technology.

Let's face it, technology integration done well allows all of the great things we want to see happening in schools today:

*Want to have students collaborate--don't need tech, but boy do Google Docs help and enhance and change the experience.

*Want to have students explain their thinking--don't need tech, but Screen casting and Apps help and enhance the experience.

*Want to have students use creativity to produce evidence of their own learning--don't need tech, but creating presentations, movies, and communicating with the world can enhance the experience.

Schools and teachers that go with the Amazon model, the ones that see education as an evolving new world, will develop learning situations in which technology can augment and enhance student learning.  These teachers will be able to create authentic learning experiences that emphasize skill development and ready students for whatever they wish to do after high school.  Teachers are able to focus on relationships, student learning, and quality assessment because technology allows them to be more efficient.  Teachers are able to ask students to create, because technology tools makes creativity available any time, any where.

The Blockbuster way may work in education....for a while.  But, much like Blockbuster it will not be sustainable.  It is our moral duty to evolve and grow as educators to provide a world class experience, with world class instruction, with world class technology.

So, strive to be Amazon, not Blockbuster.

"IPads in the Classroom: The Promise and the Problems."GreatSchools. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. />.