It’s time to spike the koolaid

Saturday was amazing.

The annual EdScape conference held at New Milford High School in New Jersey, was nothing short of perfection. Eric amassed an amazing group of people together with one goal in mind — to address a need of more meaningful, productive professional development while also focusing on technology integration.

Saturday’s conference was the A-list of connected educators and lead learners.  To see all of these educators together in one place, sharing, dissecting, identifying pros and pitfalls, and modeling how, when, and where, allowed hundreds of educators to turnkey and move forward.

But there’s a problem.  And the problem can be bigger in some districts than others. It’s  the educational koolaid that’s being drank in some schools.

Some school districts and local unions believe that any PD offered outside of school is evil.  Whether it is compensation, not under ‘proper guidelines (whatever that means), or the higher-ups not giving them the thumbs-up to partake.

The essential question: How do we alleviate this roadblock?  This was the question being tossed around all day, and this is not the first time this question came up in conferences like this.

My answer — buy-in needs to start with the top. Having your building Administrators / District Administration on board is paramount for success.

If you are a teacher or an administrator that has witnessed the power of EdScape, EdCampNJ, or any of the other ‘un-conferences’ out there; if you are that passionate teacher who is constantly out of the box with your lessons, that educator / administrator who is obsessed with classroom technology and sees the value of a classroom infused with it; SPEAK UP AND BE PERSISTENT.  I know your pain… I’ve walked in your shoes.  I was the tech-savvy educator who was a pain in the butt with administrators… but… they always helped me out, as they knew it was always about the kids.

Make a prezi, a slideshare, or a jing.  Show your materials. And nag them to death with it.  INVITE THEM TO THE NEXT UN-CONFERENCE SO THEY CAN SEE THE MAGIC IN PERSON. Leave it out; share with colleagues; post on social media. Eventually, someone will take a look, and will see such a value.

Sure, there could be policies and what not in place preventing some of what we’re doing.  BUT… if the powers that be in your district see the magic that is occurring here, I’ll be that some of those policies will go away.

The days of the regular PD koolaid and groupthink need to come to end.  Spike that koolaid; you, and eventually your students, will be glad you did.

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