Don’t get me wrong my iPhone is great. Thanks Steve.
However, the innovator-worship is out of control.
Mother Teresa was an innovator too, but you never saw her in her New Balance and jeans on a stage collecting your admiration. I think we are selectively worshipping innovators who validate The American Dream. And that is a tough fit for educators.
Educators are not built to try new things for the sake of newness. Education has some history of what works; we could use an infusion of new ideas, but not constantly new all the time. Because we are not making disposable technology, we are building students into our future society. Our end-product is not profit, it is a thoughtful generation of people. And that is where we differ from some non-educators trying to sell us the next big innovation. Once we make the purchase they have accomplished their goal of profits. Once we make the purchase we then have to make that purchase work to educate our students.
I want to curate all the good things in education – ever. Is it something that worked in a one-room school-house? The important thing is that it worked, not that is an old idea – I’ll try it. I want to selective gather the best to offer to students. Just because it is new doesn’t mean I need to offer it to my students, and just because it is old doesn’t mean it is worthless.
Do not mistake newest for best the way we are marketed to en masse. Educators are already innovative. However, we also do not look at our students as raw materials on which we can fail forward. If we try something new with our students we do so with safeguards as to never completely consume them as a resource, but to offer new alternatives or pathways, but never the only way to learn a new concept. Just because a Principal brags about the trendy way his/her teacher is teaching something does not mean there isn’t a “No.2” involved somewhere else in that teacher’s classroom.
We are setting an unrealistic expectation for new teachers. We may be inviting those into education who would fleece us of our public trust and then leave when the devices, or apps, or whatever did not work and we are out of money. We are allowing non-educators to pressure us into trying new things because they are new, not because anyone knows that those things work. Our response needs to be try the new things which we believe have promise, but not buy into the innovator-worship. We need to practice selectively discerning the solutions which have promise from the hyped.
We have been innovating from the beginning, we built the innovators trying to pressure us into always try something new. Let us hold true to what every good teacher knows: To be innovative means to have an open mind to new methods. It doesn’t mean purchasing everything new every time.
What do you think?