Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Broke up with My Boyfriend, Quit my Job, and Lost My Faith in the Deity

"What's new?" an innocent enough pleasantry, uttered by many-a-friend.

My response these days: "I broke up with my boyfriend, quit my job, and lost faith in the deity."

So let's break it down, shall we?

1)  Broke up with my Boyfriend:  Last Spring, I was his.  Seduced by his intelligence, his ability to anticipate my every need, his impeccable charm, his flawless packaging, iPad 2 ---3G 64 meg in black leather---and I became one.  I was so taken by him that I found a way to get a cart of him and 29 of his bff's into my classroom.  Life with boyfriend in the classroom, though, proved less than ideal (full story here).  At first, he could do everything, so we thought.  We tried to introduce him to Dropbox, FilesAnywhere, Google Apps.  Let's just say he doesn't play well with others.

And so, we broke up.  He's now moving to our elementary school, where we believe he will play better with our younglings.  It's sad, but it must be.  So this week, we will say our final goodbyes and hope that each of us finds our technological soulmate somewhere down the road.

2)  I officially quit my job two weeks ago.  Okay, I'm being a bit melodramatic (full story here).  I've shifted to half-time teaching; half-time technology integration.  Actually, switched to my dream job, truth be told.

So, two weeks into the new job: the low down?  After 18 years of Pavlovian behavior, not responding to a bell every 50 minutes telling me where I need to be is bizarre, but appreciated.  I'm wrapping my brain around the possibilities, I've worked in classrooms: multimedia QR projects, Glogster Posters, and Digital Storytelling; I've been to a technology summit, planned trainings, dreamed with and tutored teachers.  It's exciting and uncertain and important work.

3) So, to review: a failed love life and an uncertain work life.  At least I have my faith, right?  Strike three.  Much has been uttered lately about our false faith in technology.  Steve Jobs was not the messiah, nor is Bill Gates, nor Mark Zuckermann. The list continues.  We can't continue to melt our golden earrings for technology innovations that sell our students short.  The only way this thing will work is if we wed sound practices and clear objectives with tools that will enhance and streamline those practices, engaging students in their digital language, and preparing them for our 21st century global world.

Technology alone is not the solution:
We need to wed best practices with strategic use of technology. 
We can't continue to salivate over all things shiny and new, but we also can't close our eyes to emerging technologies.  We must exert self-control around the shiny, new things.  We must give students their due attention.  We must give technology its due research.  We must give teachers their due respect.

No alchemy.  No elixir.  No golden calves.

No boyfriend can complete you, no job can define you, no technology in and of itself can save education.

Still, with all of this uncertainty, I feel like Marlo Thomas in That Girl of maybe Zooe Deschanel in New Girl.  Amidst an educational system in flux and new Golden Calves by the day, I find myself metaphorically frolicking in the street, spinning in possibility, tossing my hat in the air, believing we're on the cusp of figuring this out.

This is exciting.