The "Value" of Learning



The original title I had for the blog was, "Are you a Learner?" I could hear in the back of my mind Lisa Durff screaming...."YES!" For I know no better advocate for teacher learning than she! Thanks for your passion my co-learning friend.

Being a learner I think is one of the first callings an educator has. How can you stand if front of a class and exalt the virtue of life long learning when you yourself don't find value in learning?

I don't know, maybe you think you are too old? Maybe you think it's too hard? Maybe you find the tools too intimidating? I mean, really, what did you think teaching was going to be like?What ever the excuse, I think it boils down to do you find value in learning? Of course on this blog I'm speaking specifically about teachers learning the art of implementing digital tools into the educational process. For me, teacher technology use is a life long learning issue.

Recently, I've been thinking more about how to motivate teachers to want to utilize more technology tools in the classroom. Motivation I believe is the key to successful integration and implementation. I often run into teachers whom I am tasked with helping, who do not have the motivation to want to learn new things. I'm nearly convinced that being a good technology coordinator is like being a good used car salesman. If I could just "sell" you on why this tool would be good for you to use, or why this teaching strategy is better than the one you've been utilizing for the past 25 years, or why it's important to engage children in a "digital" process along side the hands-on process. Then they would get it! You've got to sell it!

Can I make someone find value in the learning of new skills? I partially agree with Dennis Grice's twitter post today, "To accept something as valuable depends on one's trust in the authority & reliability of the source." Maybe the teachers we try to lead frankly just don't trust us! I would hope that's not the case, but it could very well be.

Do some people not choose to engage in ongoing learning because they don't have "an attitude or openness" to learning new things, as put by Dave Black in a like-minded tweet?

For what ever the reason, I'm more and more convinced that learning is tied tightly to the concept of value. If you don't value it, you won't engage or learn it.

So...how then, as someone who says he takes professional development seriously, do I help my staff "value" the technology tools available to them? How do I reach the teacher at the conference sectional who comes up to me after the presentation and says, "that was all well in good, but....(insert obstacle or excuse here)?" Is it my job to sell life long learning to teachers? How do you convince someone that technology tools have changed education....dare I say, have changed learning forever!

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I find a critical and deep connection between a teacher's technology adoption and their view of life long learning. Is that too simplistic?

Image: "It is the work." fromFlickr user shareski
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