Life-Long-Learners and the ‘3Rs’

Most educators are quite familiar with the “3R’s”. However rather than focus on the traditional “Readin’, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic” in this, my first, blog entry, I thought it might be more appropriate to consider the “3Rs” as being “Resolution, Retired, and Re-wired”.

Resolution
Today, on January 1st, tradition dictates that individuals should consider making one or more New Year’s resolutions. For those unfamiliar with this endeavour, Wikipedia defines a “New Year’s resolution” as follows:

A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestye change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year’s Day.

I thought it might be more appropriate to consider the "3Rs" as being "Resolution, Retired, and Re-wired".

Thus, it seems fitting that as an an important “lifestyle change”, I commit to a new project that hopefully you, the reader, will deem to be advantageous to both you as a K-12 educator, as well as, your students. I trust that my new blog, located here at “Life-Long-Learners.com“, will provide you with professional development ideas, educational tips, classroom resources, strategies, “freebies”, and humour to help infuse technology, to enhance lessons, and to help engage y0ur students as 21st century learners.

Retired
My educational career, which spanned 40 years, started as a junior and senior high Mathematics and Computer Science teacher and ended as an Educational Technology Consultant for the largest school division in the province of Manitoba. During this time, I was always passionate about learning and sharing ideas and resources with other educators. One popular sharing mechanism that I created was a monthly, K-12 educational newsletter called “Bits and Bytes“. As editor, I witnessed the power of “leveraged learning” as educators willingly contributed, practical, classroom-based ideas and resources with me for sharing in both print and online formats during the 23 year evolution of “Bits and Bytes”. As I reflect on my personal learning, that was facilitated through the creation and editing of this monthly K-12 educational newsletter, I definitely miss the opportunities to learn and the challenges that this publishing vehicle provided.

Re-Wired
With the recent K-8 implementation of the “Literacy with Information and Communication Technology (LwICT) Across the Curriculum” throughout the province of Manitoba, educators need to “re-wire” their traditional approaches to teaching. Certainly our K-8 teachers are changing as they explore how the inquiry process and the LwICT’s nine “Big Ideas” fit into their teaching strategies. However, let me assure you, that this “re-wiring” is not limited only to those educators teaching early and middle years students. In fact, I believe the greatest opportunity for change lies with the senior years teachers as the younger students, who have learned to collaborate and communicate using technology in earlier grades, enter the Grade 9-12 environment and expect that they will be engaged in learning in a similar manner.

Perhaps Will Richardson described this evolution best when he stated “… we as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” In reality, becoming “re-wired” is all about making “changes” and new “connections“. Whether it is connecting with technology or connecting with colleagues through a professional learning network (PLN), we, as teachers, need to change. Perhaps my resolution this year will help me morph the power and connectivity of my old “Bits and Bytes” educational newsletter into my new “Life-Long-Learners” blog. I hope that as a potential reader you, too, will be willing to “connect” with me and share ideas and resources either through individual blog entry feedback comments or by emailing me at brian<dot>metcalfe<at>life-long-learners<dot>com. Through such connections and sharing, we can facilitate the professional growth of educators to better meet the needs of our 21st century learners. I believe Margaret Fuller summarized it best by stating “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.”

I will now sign off this blog entry, and all subsequent ones, with my traditional closure that I began using more than 15 years ago, when I started adding the following tagline signature to the end of my emails:

Take care & keep smiling 🙂

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