You may remember Xanga as the blogging service that used to rule the world. I remember Xanga as a website that empowered me as a child. Ever since the days of Xanga, I have been engrossed with learning “how” technology works. To set the scene, during this period I was in 5th grade and my family just received our very first computer. At this point, I only knew how to do two things with a computer:
1. How to use Microsoft Word
2. AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) like a pro
Once my parents purchased dial-up internet, I stumbled across Xanga. Xanga was nothing short of a game-changer for how I saw the world. Before this moment, I never saw a website where kids, and people of many ages, posted their thoughts, pictures, and musical playlists.
My mind raced with endless questions; I immediately wanted to post my views, while reading the ideas of others. I also desired to learn how to change a site’s layout, script, font, color, and more. But, even with the internet, I did not know how to figure this out. Therefore, I determined that if I was going to find the answers my questions, I needed to play around with the website so I could learn myself. Through this determination, I taught myself HTML.
When I was in school, these tech skills were not valuable in the classroom, and I spent much of my alone time at home diving into this. I would have loved to be a kid today where coding, STEAM, and Makerspaces flourish in many schools.
What Will Prevail?
With all of this said, even though the tools are exciting, we cannot lose sight that the people should always take precedence over the “things.”
In some schools, even with the greatest tools, teachers wait to learn these technologies until someone shows them how to use it seamlessly. Then, students are often trained to remain at a standstill before trying a new tool, app, or game until a teacher shows them the way.
But, here is the issue- when we continually lead with this ideology, we are inadvertently teaching that the tool is more important than who we are. Also, without directly saying it, we are communicating learned helplessness when it is time to learn a new tool.
We need to shift our thinking to resourcefulness OVER resources. I love learning and teaching new tools when there is meaning behind it, but the tools will never solely propel us to our goals. What will prevail is the tenacity of the team and the students; Tenacity will always prevail over any opposing force. We cannot forget that technology is an essential asset, but it is not the end-all-be-all.
We can surround ourselves with:
-The most brilliant network
-The newest and brightest technology
-The highest quality of resources
-The largest sum of money
But, all of these incredible assets will not be as valuable unless we are equipped with the resourcefulness, determination, and self-reliance to navigate these assets. Technology is powerful, but WE are even more important; Let us become our best resource.