Graduation season is always a thrilling time of year. Students are filled with excitement as they prepare to move on to their next challenge, whether it be more schooling or entering the workforce, they’re looking forward to new opportunities.
Last month, my university held what’s known as “Grad Walk Week,” where we met with students who had been unable to participate in graduation the last few years due to COVID. It was an emotional and inspiring experience to see students, families and faculty come together to celebrate and share the many success stories of the graduates. I could feel the palpable optimism and excitement about the future.
Educators and administrators in our community are in the same position. We’re reflecting on the past and contemplating possibilities for the future. It’s a great time to consider if we’re going back to school or going forward with education. We have learned so much from the past few years and that creates an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum for change.
During Grad Walk, I enjoyed hearing students’ success stories highlighting their efforts and dedication. They inspired me, made me feel proud of my profession and made me wish I could capture that enthusiasm for others.
You can experience some of the same feelings through the EdSurge Voices of Change project. Voices of Change is a “collection of powerful stories centering educator experience, research articles and journalism capstones addressing the reality teachers have been facing.” There are compelling examples from members of the educational community who share ideas, solutions and connections to other educators. These stories will make you proud to be an educator.
Isn’t that what a community does – connect and support each other? It’s disheartening to think our community has not been together face to face since 2019, which is not to say that we have not been connecting. Our virtual events have been wonderful, engaging learning experiences for our global community, as tens of thousands of educators who attended ISTELive, Summer Learning Academy and Creative Constructor Lab can attest!
This year, ISTE will host our first hybrid event. People from around the world will be attending in June as we lean into the ‘I’ in ISTE. It was exciting to hold our first international event, the Make the Future Summit, in the United Kingdom in March. It was a unique opportunity for collaborative teams to reimagine future learning experiences.
And as we reimagine the future of education, I’m excited to share that ISTE will play a critical role in preparing teacher candidates for the classrooms of tomorrow. ISTE, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and in collaboration with leading higher education organizations, has created the Educator Preparation Program Digital Equity and Transformation pledge.
The Association for the Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (SITE) and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) have joined ISTE to scale digital equity and transformation in learning.
Everyone from the ISTE board to the staff, volunteers and the educational community are working to move education forward to support all learners. As we think about the exciting opportunities ahead of us, we don’t have to be limited by our past. Let’s come together as a community to design the future of education.