So I’m applying for the Picademy – two days of visiting Raspberry Pi towers, meeting cool people and fiddling around with a tiny computer – sounds good to me! One of the requirements for the application is to write a blog post about “Being a 21st Century Teacher”…which is actually quite a tricky topic to write about, especially when you haven’t blogged in ages!
As I mentioned in a previous post, possibly the most irritating thing you can say in passing to a teacher of Computing and ICT is how hard it must be to “keep up with the kids these days”. It’s simply not true, even for the least experienced teacher of Computing, that what we are doing is simply keeping up with the kids. Learning about the principles of Computer Science is very different to fannying about on 2048 and tweeting a selfie. Possibly both equally mystifying to most over 50’s, but definitely not even remotely similar. As a 21st Century teacher, getting past this perception is one of our challenges.
As a 21st Century teacher I also feel that our professionalism is assaulted on all sides – the media complains of ‘lazy teachers’ and claims abound that we need industry to “step into the breach” to teach children the skills they need to progress in the tech industry. There is a huge need at the moment for CPD for teachers and a huge amount of teachers are acting incredibly professionally, spending their own time and money on improving their skills so that they can use their wealth of pedagogical expertise to teach the next generation Computing skills. Of course schools need to work together with industry, but industry also needs to realise that school is a grounding in all subject areas not a bootcamp for churning out their ideal employees. School will never be a replacement for training, and even the most experienced teachers can’t teach ALL THE THINGS. So, one of the things I must do as a professional educator is to ensure I am sufficiently up to date that I am teaching my students concepts which will be useful to them. It’s no good teaching these concepts with tools that went out of date 8 or 9 years ago when I first started teaching, just because I can’t be bothered to update my scheme of work. (On that note, would somebody put a stake in Access already?!)
And this is why I’d like to go to the Picademy! Yes, I have a degree in Computer Science, I can program, I’m already teaching Computing and I run training for other teachers. It would be easy to become complacent and spend my entire holidays playing Hearthstone. (Oops.) However, every time I go to an event, run training course, go on a course or check my Twitter, I learn something new. I see something someone else is doing and I’m not. I’ve lost count of the times people have come to me for training and I’ve ended up learning about something cool from them too. I’m also a big fan of sharing things – at the end of the day, if it means more children get a better education then that makes me happy 🙂