Thursday, April 27, 2017

Changing My Mission Statement

By George Couros
   I have made a very important shift regarding the mission statement of my role as Principal of Educational Technology and Innovation in the Tuscarora School District. This change comes as a result of the continuous, ongoing learning and re-learning that is required of an educator seeking to best meet the needs of our students in a dynamic, STEAM-saturated economy in which we now live. 
   As we continuously evaluate how educational technology and digital resources can deepen and broaden student understanding, an important shift must take place in our instructional thinking and delivery. This shift places a far greater emphasis on what our students are doing as opposed to what the teacher is doing in the classroom. Furthermore, my previous emphasis on increasing student engagement through technology integration – though important – is no longer adequate to convey the skills and literacies students must possess moving forward into their lives as productive citizens and employees in our current and future economy. Therefore, the old mission statement which read as follows: 

"To amplify and transform effective instructional practices in order to promote student engagement leading to increased student achievement" 

will be changed to more accurately reflect the necessary shift in thinking about instruction and student outcomes to the following:

“Amplifying and transforming effective instructional practices to engage, equip and empower students to take ownership of their learning.”

   The reasons for this shift require more explanation than you care to know, and in fact, you might not care at all that this statement has been changed. But you should, because it reflects a very important distinction between merely “engaging” students with educational technology and actually “equipping” and “empowering” them. It also places a greater emphasis on what students do as a result of your technology-infused instruction as opposed to what a teacher might be doing with technology alone.
   Student empowerment is sometimes at odds with teachers who merely desire compliance and control when designing lessons. Compliance and control should not be the sole objective of 13 years of schooling. We are truly successful when we have equipped and empowered students with the tools they need to pursue their passions and interests, learn on their own, and make meaningful contributions to their communities and societies at large.

   This is my mission and my goal. 

       More to come.