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Resistance and Mindset

Resistance. We all know it, see it, and sometimes we live it. Resistance is natural. No, we don’t always like it but it’s completely natural. But just because it's natural doesn't mean it's necessarily going to bring good things. A beautiful spring rain is natural but tornadoes are natural, too.

One thing I always say is that learning something new does not require a skill set; it requires a mindset. The skill set is not fully there yet because they develop along the way. The skills build upon one another to bring about a more advanced set of skills. However, without the right mindset, the skills won’t ever develop.

We have had many years of professional learning in which a "sage on the stage" delivers content to attendees. This sort of training is not interactive and really only requires listening and perhaps some note-taking. The information is being shared in one direction: from the "sage" to the attendees. As a result, many attendees expect this kind of training each time something new is presented. But with new apps, sites, and tools developing at a rapid pace, it's not realistic to expect hand-held trainings each time. If you see something you want to learn, rather than waiting to be trained, why not click around? See if you can figure it out. If you get stuck, reach out via social media to ask your PLN questions or find an online tutorial - there are millions on YouTube. Ask your district's/school's instructional tech team if they have any resources. Chances are, if you're asking a question there are others asking it, too, and there will be resources available.

Of course, I'm not implying that this is the only way to learn. The structures of our learning and the styles of learning are vast and also has a lot to with our social structures. Learning new things on your own or with others in a digital format is just another way to learn and it's the way many of our students will learn.

Taking the time to learn something new on your own or with a group is not new but doing so in a digital format is relatively new. But doing so in a digital format does two things:

1. It sharpens your digital literacy skills. Becoming more resourceful with technology and learning things as you go isn't easy but it does broaden your skill set and makes you more digitally literate. In 2016, being literate is no longer just reading and writing; it does require digital literacy. Developing those skills is up to you and your mindset.

2. It helps educators reach the goals of the ISTE Standards for Teachers. If you haven't seen them, take a minute to look over them. You'll see a few that relate to the mindset of a 21st century educator, such as 3d and 4a, but essentially all of them relate to being digitally literate and learning how to use digital age tools. You have to have the mindset to learn new things.

I use ISTE standards to explain why it is important to learn the skills. I discuss digital literacy and how it is just as important as being able to read and write. But the mindset? I can’t give someone that. I can encourage and support but I can’t get in someone’s brain and make them adjust their mindset. Mindset makes all the difference in growth and accepting change. Anyone can learn with the right mindset and that's something educators have known all along.

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