Here is to those who are willing to start without a scope and sequence. Here’s to those who want to figure out how it all works. To those that look at a new way of teaching and want to explore what is possible. To those that aren’t frightened by new words or by changing what it means to be a teacher.
Here’s to those that do not wait for approval, but rather serve as the proof for those who are waiting that risk is justified.
Derrick McNeill is one of those. He is someone who looked at his classroom in a drastically different different light. He saw what personalizing learning for every single student meant even before he could actually accomplish it. He saw what letting students create videos and other learning objects could do for ownership in his classroom before the kids did. He saw just how to transform the science department before knew that it wanted to transform.
It is this foresight that is different in an early adopter. They may not know exactly what the end result will look like, but they can see a vision through the fits and starts of early progress. They are confident they have built a learning process that will produce results, and then they quest after those results without wavering. Early adopters aren’t merely the ones that sit on the bleeding edge of technology, but rather those who can see the transformative power of the technology to do good.
And, good is what I see in the work being done at George Washington High School. Good is what I see in building up a system of support within a single department that allows teachers to take hold of the vision Derrick has set forth and be truly successful. It is important that we recognize that without these groundbreaking teachers and the micro-systems they create there would be no proof points for innovation, and there would be no “scalability.” There would be no sustained innovation, either. I am proud to know that teachers are the ones pushing the boundaries of what is possible and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
So, here’s to the early adopters. And, here’s to those who listen to them and want to see what they see.