Transformative Leaders Don’t See it as a Device Decision

I’ve said it before and perhaps I’m beating a dead horse; however, “leaders” who bluntly speak up at every moment to proclaim “this is a device discussion and decision” continue to frustrate me especially like today after an article like this appears.

This logic leaves me with two conclusions:

  1. Your current learning environment is exactly what you want it to be, so adding a device will enhance that experience. Thus, it is a device decision – pick the device that assists with maintaining as well as enhancing the present state.
  2. Your current environment is not the desired state, you have engaged in the collaborative development of a learning & teaching vision, and you have communicated it organizationally on a pragmatic level. Thus, it is NOW time for a device decision – pick the device that assists with transforming the environment to the desired state.

Sadly, these “leaders” tend to fall into the former. They don’t want to have the difficult conversations about transformation. They simply want to add a device. They want to keep saying “this is simply a device discussion”.

[pullquote4 quotes=”true” align=”right” variation=”silver” cite=”Ray Bradbury”]We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?[/pullquote4] Never mind learning. Never mind teaching. Never mind transformation. Pick a device and go! Whatever happens, happens.

And let’s be honest. The device that will get the least amount of public pushback and can easily be touted in a way that builds considerable support is the iPad: save money, lower textbook costs, and lessen the weight of a backpack. It surely is the sexy choice. It surely is the path of least resistance choice. And, it might be a path to transform learning and the learning environment

But, I wonder how many are approaching that with fidelity (see number 2) versus seeing that as icing on the cake if it happens (see number 1).

Before the claws come out, I’m not arguing against iPads. I can imagine many schools engaging in transformative conversations where the iPad falls out in the end as the device that will best get the organization there. Heck, I’m sure those that are making it a device decision could strike it lucky and find a new day for learning by simply introducing a device into the environment.

The frustration is that leaders are in a place to work through these difficult and sometimes painful conversations so that organizations change for the better not change for the sake of change.

Ray Bradbury perhaps said it best: “We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”

Rethinking learning and teaching is being bothered by something important and real. Making it a device decision isn’t.

We owe it to students, teachers, and parents to make this a learning and teaching decision NOT a device decision. We owe it to them to act but not follow. Anything else, well, is poor leadership.

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Leaders who do this are taking the easy way out. Buying gadgets without changing learning expectations (moving students from being knowledge consumers to producers) won’t take you very far.

    Reply

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