Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Take the Technology to its Limits to Take Students Beyond Theirs

I finally took the opportunity to watch the movie Jobs, and it was fascinating to review highlights of the mogul's history and key events.  What made it interesting was the fact that I followed much of that history and could identify with the idea of using a personal computer to enhance our daily work.  In my case, I was (and still am) looking for ways I could leverage technology to improve my teaching and student learning.

What struck me and stayed with me most in the movie was Steve Job's unique ability to see the uses of technology beyond the conventional wisdom of many of those around him.  Words like "possibilities," "no limits," "beyond," and "dream" seemed to stick in my mind after watching the biography.  What Steve Jobs seemed to be able to share with like-minded colleagues and staff was a vision of what could be possible in using what he called a "mental bicycle."  He was able to translate what could be?  I had heard he would look at the countenance and look into the eyes of prospective employees after he showed them a prototype, and that would message him on whether or not he would hire that person.
I could not help but draw parallels to what we do with technology in education.  I ask the question, what does an educational leader or teacher think when they see an iPad or a laptop?  What do they think when they know their students have a technology device they can use 24/7?  Is their reaction, "Oh, that's nice, kids can be more organized," or do they question, "What are these for?" or "What are they supposed to do with these?"  Or, do they begin to see the possibilities, the potential, the new skills, the new opportunities, the new learning, and the new thinking and doing?
Once again, we come to the understanding that without possibility thinking, without innovation and without the foresight and vision to use technology to create powerful learning experiences for students, technology is limited and can be wasted.  The technology tool has its power in people who see and believe the tech tool possibilities to help students overcome their own limitations!