By Erin E.P. Morris
When I was 16 I worked at a yarn shop. A surprisingly fun and interesting job for a high school student, there was one thing above all that has remained with me and it was a little phrase I picked from one of our customers: Press On. Whenever this customer would leave she would look at me, and in a cheery British accent say, “Press On.” I love this phrase, it has so many encouraging meanings and I always find it to be most encouraging. I find that some people more than others have internalized this message and bring it to their life everyday.
This attitude is also something I see that describes innovation in the classroom. The teachers, aids and administrators who make the most success out of deployments are those who are always pushing the envelope. In fact innovation is in itself pressing on, pushing past what is available, and trying to envision what else could be. But this becomes even more poignant when you are thinking about the infusion of technology in the classroom, with certain unique hurdles which accompanies this. Technology at its best is not an end in itself but is a tool that should eventually fade into the background. In the classroom you have additional obstacles to achieve this end including bureaucracy dictating adoption, teachers who trained years earlier being less accepting of change, and of course the pitfalls of technology adoptions of the latest and greatest tech being done for tech’s sake.
Despite all these extra obstacles, innovative teacher’s Press On. I have seen this first hand in the teachers and schools that I have worked with. The greatest successes are brought by individuals not just accepting of what is, but who push on looking for what might be, or what could be. Spurring a pilot beyond its original design, or developing new and creative uses for technology they have access to. But not everyone is an innovator, some people like to wait and see what shakes out before jumping in themselves. Those people can be obstacles, or detractors, or merely silent observers, but despite them the creative, ingenious, innovators continue to press on, and without them stagnation and mediocrity might remain. So here’s to those that push us on, those who follow the mantra of Press On, thanks for helping us move forward.