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The cool part of my work is that I get to engage with lots of different folks and when this happens I oftentimes get content for What’s Right. This week this means hanging out and engaging in an online discussion group with aspiring teachers; reading articles and blogs about teaching with technology; and checking out teacher and education-related posts across a few different social media platforms. What did I find? Well, Dorothy’s communication with Toto covers it…

Of course, I’m talking about “traditional schools” and venture to add “traditional students,” rather than “Kansas.” Note, however, that any differences stop there. That is, see the bewilderment on Dorothy’s face when she arrives in Oz? That was me this week. Below is one contributing item.

Students Are ‘Hacking’ Their School-Issued iPads: Good for Them (Watters, 10.2.2013). I echo to you a few of the author’s points:

[School Use Policies] should prompt us to ask why we want students to have access—or not—to computers. Whose goals do computers meet?

One District’s School Use Policy: “Limit the tablets, when taken home, to curricular materials from the [company name] corporation, which are already installed.”

[In response to these “hacks,” one district] recently announced that students will not be allowed to take their iPads home…

Bewildered? Yes. Two reasons. First, as the author notes, as educators we must recognize how students learn with technology (Watters). More importantly, we must recognize that use policies or responses as described above are not the failure or the issue or the solution. Again, the Watters:

We should recognize… a profound lack of vision about how students themselves could use—want to use—these new technologies to live and to learn at their fullest potential.

Second, a reiteration of the seeming lack of vision as suggested above. This photo highlights a blog post by Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst where he describes what he looks for in a potential new hire; characteristic 1 of 2? Intellectual Curiosity.

WhitehurstWhitehurst explains what he means by “intellectual curiosity” before sharing how he thinks it influenced and impacted his career:

I want to hire people who can achieve and think beyond the role they’re interviewing for, and understand how that role fits into the bigger company picture. For instance, if I’m talking to someone who is being considered for a finance position and also currently coming from finance, I’ll ask questions about their current company but on areas totally unrelated to their current job. I want to know if they’re curious about the business and industry they work in, or if they are simply there to perform their designated role without genuinely understanding what their company does.

Whitehurst’s description does not surprise me. Last month I enjoyed a keynote by one of his colleagues, Shawn Wells, who described the need to disrupt and move through the innovation curve (amateur, hobby, product, commodity) as fast as one can. Wells discussed this before sharing his experience doing just that as a teenage hacker.

With the arrival of Glinda, the Good Witch, Dorothy concludes, “I know we’re not in Kansas anymore.” What will it take to get us as educators and leaders to encourage learning opportunities that may be completely different than what we experienced? to encourage learning environments that engage rather than limit? and to realize that some of the greatest learning opportunities occur outside our traditional school walls?

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Video Clip from The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939) accessed 10.2.2013 here.

Watters, Audrey. (10.02.2013). Students Are ‘Hacking’ Their School-Issued iPads: Good for Them. Available online here.

Whitehurst, Jim. (09.24.2013). How I Hire: Intellectual Curiosity Required. Available online here.

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