Welcoming a new school year is the perfect time to start fresh and free. Over the past year, educators around the world and in every context were reminded about what really matters – each and every student.
Students, families, teachers, school and district administrators, school board members, community partners and higher education faculty rose to the challenge of redefining learning to focus on skills such as social-emotional learning, resiliency, problem-solving and, my all-time favorite, critical thinking.
Granted, there was a lot of crisis education happening that we want to leave behind, and we still need to deal with the associated trauma, and yet there were moments of connection and inspiration where we learned what works for our students. The challenge is to be brave and fearless for students, and move forward into the new school year living what you learned.
After all, the pandemic made abundantly clear that broadband comes in two forms: internet access and human connection. Both are essential.
Seismic shifts happen when lots of little actions combine and create pressure for change. Thanks to the pandemic and what we learned, this is our moment to erupt an educational earthquake. If educators from around the world take little actions that are really fundamental shifts around what matters in learning, then we can do this for our students and our future. And no matter where you are on your learning continuum, ISTE has resources to inspire and cultivate your growth.
You can increase your impact on the education ecosystem with help from ISTE advocacy resources and by staying current via articles and research from Edsurge. ESSA’s Title IV funding to support a well-rounded education that includes educational technology, integrated STEM learning, student well-being and the arts happened because we advocated for funding. Lots of people shared their story of “why” and our elected officials in Washington, D.C., heard the tectonic plates shift.
As we move forward into the new school year, share your story about why it matters to have funding and legislation relevant for learning today, and use Edsurge’s work to help you make the case.
The ISTE board, ISTE staff and the ISTE community are all engaged in this work. Together, we can leverage this moment to embrace a new learning landscape. Be brave, be innovative and, most of all, be present in the moment to make learning real for every student.
Mary Wegner, Ed.D., is a member of the ISTE Board of Directors and the chair of the board’s Member Linkage Committee. She’s an assistant professor and coordinator for the Superintendent Endorsement and Educational Leadership program at the University of Alaska Southeast’s School of Education. Her work focuses on transforming the learning landscape to be relevant for today’s students and providing equity in education. Wegner began her career over 35 years ago as a special education teacher. She was an education leader for two decades, including being a superintendent, and is now happily working as faculty helping to cultivate the next generation of educational leaders in Alaska.