The Education Reformation

What do Johannes Gutenberg and Mark Zuckerberg have in common?

Gutenberg was the inventor of the printing press in the 15th century. This marked a major transformation in how people received information. Printed newspapers, books, and other materials became the basis for future communication.

Zuckerberg brought us Facebook in 2004. Over the past few years, social networking has forever changed the way we communicate and engage with others. Today, the internet and associated technologies far surpass print as the dominate method of communication.

The popularity of social networking is a driving force behind many new computing options. The iPad is revolutionizing the way we consume information. Tablet computers are displacing desktops and laptops. Smart phones now allow access to information from just about anywhere.  Mobile devices now impact nearly every aspect of our lives. And, students are not insulated from these changes.

The vast majority of students in our schools have never known a world without internet access. They have always lived in a digital world. Nearly all of their interactions with friends and family involve some form of social media. Too often, for digital natives, attending school feels like a trip back in time.

Schools across the country are struggling to navigate this post Facebook world. Some have adopted iPads, others are allowing students to bring their own devices, and many have yet to chart their course. As time goes by everyone seems to be more and more aware that the world has shifted. Yet, no obvious solution has emerged.

The biggest challenge is not which solution to choose, but to be deliberate about stepping into a new digital world. This does not mean leaving the past completely behind. It does, however, require charting an active course toward the future.

In November of 2010 the US Department of Education released the National Education Technology Plan.  This document charts a new vision for education that leverages current technologies to transform learning opportunities.

While this document does provide an excellent road map, local issues also impact individual district decisions. We all know how difficult it can be to find resources (both money and staff time) to adopt new initiatives. Failure to act can, however, be even more expensive. While individual districts contemplate their course of action students today have more options than ever before. They are not bound by traditional geography and can be found searching out solutions that fit their appetite for digital learning.

It’s time to decide.

Are you ready for the new millennium, or are you still stuck in Gutenberg’s world?

Are you going to be a part of the “Education Reformation?”

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