When he was introducing a new product, Steve Jobs used to do a great little bit of theatre: just when you thought he was wrapping up his demonstration or pitch, he’d pretend that he’d forgotten something important and say: “Wait…there’s one more thing.”
I’m told it was a line he stole from Peter Falk, who played the detective Columbo — who used to say it when he was confronting criminals. I don’t know about that. Columbo was before my time.
For me, the phrase “one more thing” has always been linked to Steve Jobs. It’s always been a preamble to something big. New. Exciting.
This week — here on the blog and at Fusion 2015 — I’ve been talking about five big questions in education. We’ve discussed four of them which, of course, means …
There’s one more thing.
We’ve been saying that education needs to change. That what governments and countries and educators urgently need to do is make sure more people graduate from high school. We’ve said that technology — properly used — could help deliver some of that important change. Now the last question we have to ask is: “What are we prepared to do — you and I — to lead that change?
Answering that question was the goal of Fusion 2015. But, really, it’s the responsibility of all educators, every day.
And if you work in any capacity that involves teaching — whether that’s in front of a classroom, in a support role, in administration or in edtech — to me, you’re an educator.
You’re an educator if, somewhere along the line when you were choosing a career, you chose to do something to help people learn.
In my own case, that someone was me. And that “something” was D2L.
When I was a student in university, I wanted to use educational technology that didn’t exist yet. So, I went ahead and invented it. I’m happy to say pursuing my own self-interest has helped a lot of other people. Probably — for most of you — the attraction to education as a vocation was a bit more noble than that.
But whatever drew you to education in the first place — no matter if it was selflessness or self-interest — what returns us to education time and time again is the same: we know that education has the power to change lives.
We’ve seen it. And once you’ve seen the transformative power of education up close, you can’t forget it.
Let me tell you a story.
Recently I was in Medellín, Colombia. Twenty years ago it was the most dangerous city in the world. It’s a city of contrasts. In Medellín you find people living in grinding poverty a stone’s throw away from mansions.
I found out that when you get on the bus there, you have to show a card, and that number indicates your social class. So when you travel by bus everywhere you go, every event you attend, you’re constantly reminded of your economic class.
In Medellín, students know that education is the answer…the literal ticket…to a better life.
The young students I met there talked about how education allowed them to help their parents, grandparents, and their communities learn. The elders I met are now calling these young students “teachers.”
You could see the pride in their eyes. This is a beautiful example of how education is transforming a city.
So let me leave you with one more thing. As educational leaders, what are we prepared to do to make a difference? To prepare the next generation for what comes next? To do nothing less than change a city, a country, or even the world?
It seems to me that for those of us in education, that’s not an option.
It’s our responsibility.