Building Better Schools Is All About Understanding Context

earl grey tea

Replicating Earl Grey Tea

We all want our schools to be successful.  So, when we see something working really well at one school there’s a tendency to want to replicate it somewhere else.  But how do we do that?  Is there a guaranteed way to ensure success?

Permit me to digress for just a moment into the world of science fiction …

Star Wars is the standard by which all other movies are measured.  Agreed.  However, I HAVE been known to watch the occasional Star Trek TV episode.  How cool was their food replicator on their starships?  You could produce any food or drink item just by asking the replicator computer to make it.  Poof!  Instant ice cream sundae, chocolate cake or Earl Grey tea.

  • No more cooking.
  • No more wasted time cleaning.
  • Instant replication of something you really like.

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Year-End Musings – Star Wars Wisdom

Sometimes my inspiration for a new blog post comes from educational websites, sometimes from personal conversations, and sometimes from news articles in the local paper.  I also read other blogs to gain inspiration.  That’s where this one came from — I recently read a post from a teaching colleague that motivated me to create my own short list of Star Wars Wisdom.

tfa_poster_wide_header-1536x864-959818851016For those of you unfamiliar with my passion for Star Wars I should tell you that it is truly one of those past-times from my youth which has extended into my adult life.  I get just as excited for the next Star Wars movie as I was for the last one.

As we close out another school year and head into the summer break it seems like a fitting time to discuss some important leadership lessons that I’ve learned over the years — and how Star Wars shares some of this wisdom:

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Ed Tech – Like the Weather, It Changes Constantly

With so many changes happening in educational technology, it’s particularly easy to get lost in all of the hype and hyperbole.  New technology in education really isn’t the goal — instead, technology should be the tool or innovation we might use to more fully achieve the learning potential of our students — increasing their engagement and personal empowerment.

Odd-Technology

Cool But Kind of Useless

Let’s be clear — some technology is just plain useless.  We need to be ever vigilant to not head down the rabbit hole of “shiny and new is always better”.  The tech needs to make sense.  It needs to make learning better, not just flashier.

I’m not an expert on ‘everything tech’ — probably never will be.  But, you don’t have to be an expert in technology to ask some of the important questions:

What does this technology ENABLE that wasn’t possible without it?

Does it truly INNOVATE the learning or just replace something that is ‘less-techy’?

Can it provide greater ACCESS for some students that wasn’t possible before the tech?

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