Jul 02 2010

ISTE 2010: Make a Prenup With Your Technology

The Buzz Blog explains the benefits of making commitments and arrangements in ed tech.

A prenuptial agreement between people intending to marry can include a provision that the relationship last for a set period of time. In life, I think a prenup is a recipe for divorce. But in ed tech, it can keep you from being tossed and turned by every new tool that hits the scene. To pull an example from my personal life, I don't upgrade my iPhone every year; I make a commitment to renew every two. That's an example of a prenup I make with my iPhone. I also try to make my personal laptop last for four years. That way, when I'm three years in and it starts to feel a bit long in the tooth, I can console myself with the fact that in just one year, I get to upgrade. All in all, I try to honor the commitments I make to my tech-- that is until that magic day when I can either renew my vows, or break it off without an ounce of guilt.

Make a decision and stick with it, even if...

You've done your research and it's time to make that purchase, but suddenly you have cold feet. You can either wait, which may be the right choice. Or, you're just being a wuss and you just need to jump in and make the purchase. But once you do, that's it. Even if…? Yes-- even if. Even if one year into your four year commitment, a nearby district purchases an R2-D2 unit that projects a holographic image of Princess Leia that teaches class, grades homework, and cleans up after the children when they go home, you will remain true to your commitment. Tunnel vision. Make your program work.

Every once in a while, stick your head above the crowd. Read ed tech trade journals, keep current on new developments in the space, participate in social networks, read research papers on the subject, follow teachers and ed tech leaders on Twitter, read blogs, share your passion, post comments and opinions, and be open to changing your own position if you've been swayed. Leaders are humble yet confident. They're fearless risk takers who learn from their mistakes. They're not afraid to say, "I don't know" because they won't rest until they do. Be relentless in your pursuit of what's best for kids. If you ignore what's new, you won't know your options when your prenup is up.

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