In an awesome conversation last night with Patrick Larkin and Katie Martin, Patrick was sharing some of the things that they have done in their district in the previous several years. One of the stories that resonated with me was how when they moved forward with going one-to-one, they asked students for feedback on what they were going to use. Too often, the adults make those decisions for students and sometimes, with vendors. But in Patrick’s case, the district got feedback from their students, which also saved them thousands of dollars from purchasing cases for iPads because, during the feedback phase, the students said they would just get the cases they were interested in and that they should save their money.
As I also listened to Patrick’s journey, I was reminded how other school districts in his state have said that they weren’t able to do certain things that they were doing in Burlington. So why could they do it in their school district, but other people say they couldn’t?
- They found a way. If you are serious about making something happen, you will make it happen. It might be hard, but you will figure it out.
- With so many districts sharing openly on social media, why not just ask who is doing it and how they are making it happen? I did this when I ran up against “barriers” (perceived) in both the state of California and New York. When I was told they couldn’t do something, I tweeted out and asked if people in those specific states were doing what the groups I was with were saying they couldn’t. Within minutes, I found districts that were more than willing to connect with them and help. What I was told that the group I was saying could not do, others were doing. They weren’t hiding their process either, and they weren’t breaking any policies or laws. They figured it out. That’s it.
There are lots of barriers in education, and they can cause issues for what we are able to do. But when we create obstacles with our own way of thinking, those become unacceptable when serving students. To be honest, more restrictions are created by our thinking than we are willing to give credit.
Find a way, and if you can’t, find someone who has. They are out there, and it is easier than ever to find them.