“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
A new wave of pedagogical thinking has been sweeping through classrooms in the last few years or so. The drive to ensure that learners leave school with the kinds of skills that will enable them to be successful contributors in a 21st Century workplace, and participative citizens in a contemporary society has been led largely by the 21st Century Skills agenda.
This movement recognises that if we want children to be able to participate in a world with rapid advancements in technologies, which have far-reaching impacts on our economy, political systems and on our society, then we need to equip them with digital skills. Digital technologies and the range of economic activities they support make a staggering contribution to the global economy. According to the European Commission connectivity, digital infrastructure and a digitally competent population can lead to economic growth and warns that shortages in e-skills, and the resulting ‘digital divide’ will impede growth, competitiveness, innovation, employment and social cohesion in Europe.
What that means for us, as educators, is that we need to embrace digital technologies as vital tools in the learning process.
At Immersive Minds we have been working with digital tools in education for over 18 years. Our mission, quite simply, is to inspire innovation, creativity and curiosity in learners of all ages through the use of technologies. Stephen Reid, our director was recently asked to deliver a keynote address at the ICT in Education 2017 conference in Ireland (#ICTed). His address was titled The Game Changer.
His thinking on this emotive subject matter was quite clear; There are people, movements and gatherings that are leading to growth and change in our outdated approaches to learning. In Stephen’s interview, he identifies 4 Game Changers; Fear, Play, Inclusion and Collaborative Learning. Below we explore how collaboration between educators is essential, and more than this, how often being an ambassador for innovation in the classroom takes real courage, grit and a little pinch of defiance!
Collaboration and Standing up for Innovation
Children already know that play is good for them. It is innate in their nature from a very young age. Most often, the obstacle is adults. We have somehow forgotten this basic truth as we have grown into our very serious adult roles. The Game Changer is when adults, and in particular, educators come together at events like ICTedu, ISTE and Minefaire to learn. When they break down barriers and open themselves up to new experiences and possibilities that they can share with their learners. According to Stephen we must celebrate these professionals, who go above and beyond to deepen their own knowledge and experience – and to some extent put their neck on the line to pioneer new thinking and approaches in education.
“These people, and these gatherings are the Game Changers because they defy the business-as-usual-approach. They refuse to believe that things ought to stay as they are ‘Because we’ve always done it like this’. That defiance is what causes growth and change in outdated systems – and we shouldn’t underestimate how brave you have to be to stand up against convention”