You Can’t Win Them All!
As Educational Technologists, we are entrusted with the role of being change agents. Agents of change to develop, design, and support the next generation of 21st century learning. In that role, we are asked to be the experts of technology integration, professional development coaches, and hubs of information and resources. We spend our efforts evangelizing how technology supports 21st century critical thinking, global collaboration, and creative expression. All really important duties and responsibilities with implications of changing the culture of schools. The pressure can be overwhelming for some who feel the need to win over the masses.
Unfortunately, the reality is not quite the dream of every Educational Technologist. In a perfect world, all teachers and staff would be tweeting, blogging, and setting up wikis as an everyday practice. Technologists would be facilitating full classes of professional development focused on technology integration, and all school operations would run digitally.
But if you live in the trenches, you will know it is not as rosy as you would like. There are the challenges of culture, infrastructure, and diversity of personalities that provide roadblocks to change. There is also the reality that change takes time, and people have their own pace of learning (sounds like differentiation to me!). And of course there are those who are set on their ways and simply do not want change.
All these varying roadblocks can frustrate many of us, and sometimes makes us (including me) feel like failures. For every 5 converts, one negative comment or feedback can affect us greatly. We are tasked with an important role, and the passion to get every one on board drives us in what we do. At least I have asked the question many times: How can anyone not want to work and teach in this way? That mentality only amplified my desire to convert everyone, but often lead me to disappointment. It was time to reflect, take advice, and reevaluate the reality of the situation.
The best advice given to me in this edtech role is that “You can’t win them all!”
Spending energy trying to convert that masses can be draining, and that focusing on the found will provide the success stories that will keep one motivated. And you hope by highlighting and supporting the found, they in turn will do the same for other people. I often found success when multiple people are delivering the same message. At the end of the day, it is not about you, it is about the students and the mission to deliver 21st century learning opportunities that foster academic excellence, leading to global collaboration, digital citizenship/literacy, and a love for learning.