I am lucky to be part of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Commission on Technology #caisct. My first experience was three years ago attending the academic technology retreat, an event that I definitely hold near and dear to my professional development and personal sanity. This amazing group of educators from various schools and with various roles inspire and collaborate for the betterment of faculty, students, parents, and education as a whole.
This year the keynote to the academic retreat was @DonBuckley, an innovative thinker who focuses on utilizing design thinking implementation in education. It was the perfect way to start out the retreat as at this current time we have some exciting prospects with the use of educational technology to impact learning. Don empowered us not only to think about how to redesign the learning that is happening currently, but to overall consider how learning takes place, where it takes place, and how it could look differently.
The retreat is always an amazing two days of educators sharing their experiences, asking questions to learn from others, and to discuss together areas that we can impact a more global community. We all teach different ages and different subjects, have different communities, and have different learning environments yet we all have a common goal to impact students. To bring together people who want to learn and whom are often considered the forward thinkers in their buildings, to be presented with the idea to reimagine education beyond our current scope, was a mind expanding concept. Yes, it was an important one for us who often speak to say technology cannot be the replacement of what we currently do but is the tool to reimagine what we are currently doing.
One of the last sessions of the first day was run by Don who empowered us in groups to consider current problems in education and to develop a tool that could be produced to address that issue. In my group, we began with very traditional concerns and considerations. Then Don prompted us to think outside the current form of education. He empowered us to consider what if education didn’t look like it was today. We then had the path to think outside the box. It was eye-opening to sit with five other technology education professionals and find that we were struggling at first to think beyond what is current practice. With Don’s guidance, we opened our minds and it was exciting, invigorating and challenging to consider what could we create. When the groups came together to present their ideas it was inspiring to think that here was a room of educators could really change the face of education.
So my take away is that no matter what environment you’re in, we all need to step back and be creative, and really step outside the box to reimagine education. It is a takeaway I always take from this retreat; However, my takeaway is how can we bring innovation into the current practice. What I’m now thinking is how can I re-create the overall face of learning in my environment. These are not ideas that can be fixed over the summer or over the next year, but gives thought to how can learning be redesigned from our traditional methods to address needs of all learners and to the needs of today’s world of education.
Just because it worked in the past, just because it works in the present, doesn’t mean it has to or is going to work for the future. We need as educators to step out of our own way and reconsider the possibilities that exist for learning. All of that came from Don Buckley giving us the task to open our minds and then play with clay.