When the Wi-Fi Gets Turned On

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment. 

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

I have been fortunate enough to meet and learn from some of the (what I consider to be) forward thinkers when it comes to educational technology and technology integration in the country. While their delivery and presentation styles vary, there is one solid message that comes across loud and clear. We should not be using technology, just for technology's sake. It is pedagogy first and technology second.  They go on to share examples of what would happen if a case of (insert device here) arrived in a classroom tomorrow and teachers were not prepared to deliver instruction with true technology integration. Having an (insert device here) show up, is having an (insert device here) show up just for technology's sake. How are we as leaders preparing our teachers to deliver instruction that truly imbeds technology so they are prepared for when the (insert device here) does show up? A more difficult question may be, as a teacher, how open are you to learning how to embed or integrate technology into your classroom while you wait for the (insert device here) to show up? If it even does. 

If you are keeping up with recent trends regarding education and/or educational technology one of the hot topics is the access divide. This divide goes hand in hand with equality. How can we have equality among our students, classrooms, neighborhoods or schools without equal access? 

Recently the City of Plano has taken steps to address equal access by offering free Wi-Fi at all parks. In fact, they will become the first city in Texas to accomplish such. Now, I will be the first to recognize the fact that the vast majority of families today, impoverished or not have at least one device that can connect to Wi-Fi. Mission Accomplished...right? 

Plano to offer free Wi-Fi at all parks

Wrong. It is just the first step. What role does a school or school district play in offering free Wi-Fi or access to such? Is it the role of the school or school districts to supply the Wi-Fi or to educate it's teachers, students and families to take advantage of the Wi-Fi, properly creating and delivering instruction and opportunities that allow students and families to do so. If a city or apartment complex knocked on my door tomorrow and announced that families would have unlimited access to Wi-Fi, would we be ready? 

As the school year slowly winds down and we (as a collective group of educators) begin to reflect on the year and begin to make plans for next year, how do we begin or continue to educate our teachers, students, parents and families on the appropriate use of technology and the effectiveness of integrating technology to support the pedagogy? How can we ensure that not if, but when the access divide closes, because at some point it will, our teachers, students, parents and families are equipped to take advantage? If we cannot grow the capacity in our teachers, increase their level of comfort and empower them to make the necessary changes to their instructional delivery, when the Wi-Fi gets turned on and the access divide is no longer a divide, it will be just for technology's sake. 

What was your moment today? 

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