Educators must take ownership of plans for game-changing technologies.

Attendees at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) received some valuable advice during one of the conference keynotes: a dedication to technology goals, and being a persistent advocate for those goals, can pay off.

Rem Jackson, president and CEO of Top Practices, told attendees to take responsibility for their goals in order to integrate technology into their classrooms.

“You’ve got to know where you want to go. Whatever your sphere of influence is, you can do anything that you want to do. It might be in your classroom, and your principal can’t stop you,” Jackson said.

He pointed out that the people in the audience were already well aware of the changes they should prepare for in the future, but that others might not be.

“You are at this conference because you are one of the most innovative, excited, forward-thinking people at your school,” Jackson said.  “Compare this group of people to the group of people back at your school and the situation gets even more dire, because no one listens, no one cares, [and] everyone’s doing their own thing.”

Jackson pointed out that while laptops furthered the cause, the price of supporting them in a 1:1 program is often too heavy. Instead, he suggested that tablet computers such as the iPad can be a major educational tool.

“I’m pretty excited about this thing. I think that the form factor has arrived—now the main issue is how we’re going to integrate the content and all the rest of it but we are really getting there,” Jackson said.

“There has been a virtual revolution in these last 10 years in terms of these devices, these machines, [and] this connectivity,” he added, also identifying Web 2.0 as an item educators must familiarize themselves with.

“We’re in the fourth wave of technology right now and we are not out of this. Web 2.0 is a doorway that educators must past through.”

Jackson said that while the technology is being introduced, it is not being integrated into curriculum at the same rate.

“Education, funding…we’re just in a transitory historic interface. And the problem is it’s my lifetime in which we’re working it out. So it’s happening just as soon as I thought it would and not nearly as fast as I thought it would,” Jackson said.

He told listeners to pair up with other like-minded colleagues who could help further their goals to integrate technology into the classroom as opposed to being discouraged by naysayers.
“You’ve got to find two three or four people who you are routinely holding each other accountable,” said Jackson. “This is your future to negotiate with. No one stops you, not the nastiest, crankiest person in your school or who you work with.”