Hey students, today you return to school! This can be the year in which you show your stuff and make a difference in the lives of those around you! It's not as daunting as it sounds, and we're counting on you!
As Director of Instructional Technology, many of my posts focus on how technology can transform your learning opportunities, but I've already covered the a few weeks ago. Instead, I'd like to focus on being actively engaged in the community.
Though it may not be something you give much thought to as the school year begins, you have opportunities greater than any other group of students that have come before you. Whether it's technology, a richer and deeper curriculum, or the opportunity to select from a broader range of courses, you are positioned to make a difference in the community and the world around you. Taking advantage of these opportunities is valuable and interacting with authentic audiences can be quite exciting. It does not require an assignment from a teacher or the promise of extra credit; it only takes some occasional out of the box thinking and a commitment to action.
Assignments such as persuasive essays should no longer remain in the realm of an English or Social Studies class in which its only purpose is to be read and graded by you teacher. Take that work, refine it, and share it with the world in as many ways as you can. Share it via a blog, post it to a relevant website, email it to appropriate stakeholders; make your values and learning come alive in as many ways as you can. If you've taken the time to effectively argue a point of view, take that energy and engage others beyond your classroom and school!
If you are interested in political science or believe that some things around here are unfair or not as they should be, don't sit back and assume that's just the way things are. Rather, embrace the notion that all politics are local and become involved, both virtually and physically, in the events that impact our community. It's rare to see student responses to blogs or articles in the local media, but we know that you, our children and neighbors, are far from empathetic. Take up the challenge and write a weekly or monthly column for an online paper such as The Patch or contribute to local debate by attending town meetings and sharing your points of view. Be involved!
Now more than ever you have the opportunity to make a difference in the world for which you will soon be responsible. Accept the challenge, show your values, your passions, your yearning for something better than the status quo. Become an active participant in your learning and let that be of impact beyond your classrooms and schools. Seek out ways to make your voice heard, then act on it! We're counting on you to be far more than the sum of a series of standardized tests; we need you to be active and experienced leaders. You will make plenty of mistakes along the way; we all have!
Step up now and make a difference in all the ways you can. It's your world to shape; own it!