I can't say it like Sheryl. Or Will. Or David.
Often, after I've tried to articulate my feelings about how we learn or how we ought to teach, I wish for a do-over. Somehow the passion of what I believe garbles the words, and I come off sounding like some kind of an idiot.
That's not to say I can't hold my own in a one-on-one conversation. But in front of a group or on a Skype call, I never seem to lay my argument on the table without babbling or getting overly excited.
When asked why we should embed technology into our classes, often what I WISH I had said was….
...because we can.
The answer is simple yet complicated.
Why do I believe this? For ten years, I have watched teaching with technology work. From the time I let my sixth-graders first learn to organize their research into visual presentations, or my journalism students play with the design of their newspaper pages to frame the articles on which they had spent extra time because of an audience, I have believed in the power of technology to transform education.
Ten years later, and I haven't changed my mind.
Today's students gain even more as they find a writing voice on a blog, share ideas with others on a wiki, or practice their language skills on a Voice Thread.
That's not to say technology can do it alone. No teacher or administrator worth her salt believes that. Throw tech at a weak teacher, and you have a weak teacher who uses technology ineffectively.
Put the power of technology in the hands of a teacher who knows how to engage her students, to create invitations to learn, and you have magic.
I am lucky to work in an independent school, where we are not constrained by federal or state guidelines, where our access to information on the internet is essentially open, and where teachers are encouraged to participate in programs such as the Powerful Learning Practice. I am also buoyed by watching our graduates, including my own sons, make their way in the world as confident learners, ready to tackle whatever comes their way–technology or not.
I suppose in my own case, that I encouraged my two boys in technology early on didn't hurt. When the first wireless access points appeared years ago, we literally strung them around the house so we could get enough "juice" to login! Not pretty, but it worked. We were chatting online when the web was still only text-based. Today one is employed by a firm in Texas, but works from his home in Virginia. He has had at least four jobs since graduating college (two of them tech start-ups). The other son took his love of art and music and rolled it into working for a video/internet company, where he also telecommutes three days a week. Pretty cool.
I want our students to be curious. To question. To collaborate.To take risks, even if it means saying something stupid or failing. Put it out there.
Using technology seamlessly to teach and learn brings the world to us and us to the world. Sure, there are definitely times when we say "close the laptops."
But more often than not, I say, bring it on.
That's what I would have said.