Our Collective Responsibility

We have an obligation to our students to invest in digital connections.  They are counting on relevance and our connectivity as educators will facilitate the systemic transformation that’s of critical importance.  Isolation in education is a choice and it is NOT best for kids.

Bulbs

This past week I spent several hours replacing a section of lights on our family’s Christmas tree.  Each burned out bulb required removal and some intricate rewiring…which necessitated a lot of searching amidst the artificial branches laden with clusters of needles and burned out bulbs.

When all was said and done, I triumphantly summoned my wife to view the grand re-lighting of our Christmas tree.  As I plugged each successive string of lights back into the socket I beamed with pride.  It worked…all of the lights were back on.  Then my wife pointed out a blaring discrepancy.  The 50+ lights I had toiled to replace were completely different than the tree’s original bulbs.  How could I have missed it?!

I took a step back to confirm what she noticed immediately. I had been so immersed in the work of replacing an individual section of bulbs that I had isolated my focus on one section of the tree to the detriment of the whole.

Tree lights
Many analogies could be drawn here, but I equate this experience to our educational system.  It is critical that we work together and take time to connect and collaborate with stakeholders working in different states and capacities.  The quality of education we provide each and every student is our collective responsibility.  When educators connect kids win.

A system-wide paradigm shift is desperately needed.  The utility of an antiquated pedagogy and misguided assessment practices must also be reexamined.  Yet for each school or state that is entrenched in the status quo, there are countless others committed to real change; high achievement, creativity, and connectivity for each and every student.

It’s not about how brilliant any one classroom or school shines.  Our students deserve a system that serves them well and illuminates the path to being #FutureReady.  We can’t realize a paradigm shift working in isolation.

Educators and school leaders MUST cultivate the characteristic of “connectivity” to help realize real change and relevance.  Our kids are counting on us to tap into the brightest and most abundant resource available; each other.

Call to action: Commit to cultivating skills for the digital age using digital tools to collaborate.  Set-up a Twitter account and leverage it for professional learning.  Reflect upon the degree to which you’re providing learning experiences for students congruent with the tools and technology they are exposed to outside of school.  If you’re already serving as a “connected educator,” provide support to a friend that has not connected yet.

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About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at www.BradGustafson.com or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on January 2, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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