My Essential Question for Leaders in Education:
“How will you teach your students and teachers to build relationships?”
On it’s surface, the question may not seem directly related to technology, but hopefully you recognize that it is a key component to every student’s education. If we can build relationships with people, ideas, and groups of people, then our opportunities to learn something new (or to teach someone something new) multiply greatly.
Essentially, every piece of great technology is about relationships between people and ideas. The telegraph helped people to communicate across large distances. TNT was supposed to help people build bridges and destroy barriers. The Department of Defense’s ARPANet was designed to achieve greater coordinated efforts and intelligence sharing, and eventually–with Al Gore’s help–became our Internet.
Our ultimate job as educators, whether we are in a classroom or down the hall from one, is to build relationships. I believe that relationships are the key to learning anything, and learning is tied into everything we do in education.
As leaders in education, we must have and express the need to have a strong relationship with learning new things. Marzano calls the relationship with continual learning “fluid intelligence” and says it’s required for success in any area.
What else can we fit under the umbrella of continual learning and relationship building? What term can we apply to cover these committments we hold as educational leaders? I suggest, “technology.”
Whether we use TNT or a telegraph, we need to learn how to use technology to break down the barriers of learning and relationships. How that’s done is not something I can prescribe to you from this blog; reading what I say is like picking up a brick and stacking it onto other things you’ve read, but there is no mortar without a relationship. Without a dialogue between you and I (or with someone else about what you’ve read) you’re just stacking up bricks, not building a relationship with an idea.
I urge you not to take in a list of ten great technologies to suggest to teachers and principals, not to go out and buy books X, Y, or Z, but ultimately to start a conversation about what you’re learning and with whom you’re connected to. Only from that seeking out of new knowledge–through whatever barrier reducing “technology” is available to you–will there be true benefit.