Just to clarify: I have many philosophies of education. This document is only one aspect of my philosophy. If you are interested, you can check out my Ed.Tech. Philosophy and my Administrative Philosophy…
Over the past four years, my approach to education has continued to evolve and develop, just as my own knowledge about education has continued to grow. In December of 2012, I rewrote my philosophy to reflect my attitude and circumstances. Obviously, that has changed somewhat over the past few months. As time goes on, I am sure that I will continue to edit this page to reflect my current values.
Teaching begins and ends with the educator. By effectively teaching and engaging educators, we can reach students through technologies and methods that were unavailable to previous generations. A 21st Century educator is more than just a technologist; they are an activator to the students and teachers around them. Education technology is a powerful tool to engage, and re-energize both teachers and students. This re-energization leads to increases in social, professional, and academic capital for teachers and students.
In our current times, where increasing numbers of young educators are leaving the profession (or actively seeking employment elsewhere), it is no longer enough to simply engage students, we must capture the attention and passion of the teachers. By focusing on building professional capital, we give educators an opportunity to develop a passion for teaching and learning. It is impossible to engage students in effective classroom practice and technology integration if their teachers are disengaged by that same practice.
I used to say that technology was both the first and last line in education: a tool that can engage and re-energize a classroom. As my own technology practice has grown, and my body of experience along with it, I have found that in all of the classrooms where technology has made a difference in the lives of students, you can find the same characteristics. Each educator that successfully integrates technology does so by meeting an instructional need through integrating technology, pedagogy, and content (commonly referred to as TPACK). Instead of being the first and last line, technology is effective instruction and should be nurtured in the school culture.
Change is constant in education, and not necessarily for the right reasons. By initiating change from the ground up, we ensure that each initiative is spearheaded by an engaged educator who is trying to meet an instructional need in the classroom. Engagement is contagious and innovation can spread like wildfire through a school if conditions are right to do so. This leads to an increased level of collaboration and teamwork among the staff, building the professional capital of the building.
Everywhere I go, I see that educators are in need of training in methodology and pedagogy to become effective 21st century educators. To ensure that each teacher is supported, it is important to develop professional growth plans that map out the initiatives and passions of the staff.
My philosophy of education is simple: successful instruction can only be accomplished by engaging, activating, and supporting all aspects of teaching practice to meet the instructional needs of students. In order to accomplish these goals, we must focus on increasing the professional, social, and academic capital of all those involved in the education industry. By putting in place the methods and ideas I mention, my philosophy can become a reality.