I’d like to say I’m a geek. I really would. I’m pretty sure that my inability to remember what OS I’m running or how many megabytes or gigabytes something has precludes me from full-on geekdom. I don’t code and my Minecraft skills are weak (at least that’s what my kids tell me). (I do have an impressive collection of Wonder Woman items, but that’s another post for another day.)
I’ve got one thing in my favor, though- I. Love. Tech.
That may seem odd for someone who works at Antioch New England. We’re not very high-tech by most estimations. We’re a pretty nature-oriented. We’re very green, very high touch, very relational. You’re more likely to find yarn, water colors, leaves or wood than steel, titanium or screens and our default method of communication is much more likely to be “let’s meet for a coffee” than “let’s do a Google+ hangout.”
But to me, it’s a perfect fit. See, most of the folks I know who work with tech (as opposed to working ON tech- you know, fixing it, designing it, building it, etc), are less focused on the “what” than the “why.” They want technology to build connections, to deepen understanding, to magnify learning. They’ve seen tech get in the way of relationships and they’ve watched enough badly utilized PowerPoint suck the life right out of a conversation to value the conversation- the connection- above all else.
We’re good at conversation. We’re good at authentic connections, at reflection, at teaching teachers and leaders how to have those same connections with the people they serve. We know what it takes to move from Instructor to Facilitator- and those skills don’t change whether we’re sitting around one table in a classroom or we’re sitting around tables in 4 different time zones during a g+ Hangout. Personally, I think we need more Edtech integrators who know how to have the conversation, who know how to put the pedagogy before the technology, who can listen to a teacher talk about what she wants kids to know, do, and be like first and then recommend the right tech tools for the job.
That’s why we’ve partnered with some of the best Edtech Integrators we know (like Dan Callahan, Cathy Brophy, Cathy Higgins, and Zach Chase) to develop a program that combines our Critical Skills Program, (which has a powerful emphasis on learning processes and inquiry-driven, experiential pedagogy), with a constructivist approach to educational technology.
We’re taking Dewey’s view of learning through experience and making meaning out of the world around us and connecting it to tech in the classroom. We’re not here to tell you what tech to use- we’re here to help you figure out the best ways to use the tech you have and reflect on your experience so you select just the right tech in the future.
Antioch University New England, where Dewey finally meets Digital.