Ko Wai Au?
I am a learner. Raised in the fresh sea air on the eastern most edge of New Zealand. I am a teacher. Learning alongside students, teachers and leaders as we navigate change. I am a leader. Uncovering strengths in myself and others to help weave a path of best practice, to reflect on mistakes and to learn, unlearn and relearn.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ” Alvin Toffler
Memoirs of a Mother
As my Twitter bio claims, I am both a mother and an educator. Ironically, one of my most vivid memories was formed in my role as a mother and learner. My daughter came home from Kindergarten, with one of those crunchy questions. She asked not why the sky was blue, nor the classic; from where do babies come? As an educator, these wonderings were always welcomed. I revelled in the chance to share in her learning and to help her to explore. No, the soft mumblings of my two-year-old daughter which shook my world to the core were “Mumma, where is our i-Pad?”.
Birth of a New Age
This story begins way back in dark ages of mobile technologies. It seems like half a lifetime ago, but it was less than six years back, in 2010 when Apple released the first i-Pad.
At this time, my tech skills were little-to-none. I had been kept busy entertaining myself with several odd-jobs while raising the children, “screen-time” was an unnecessary luxury.
The Life Cycle of Change
My reaction to this other-worldly request precisely followed the Kuber-Ross Greif Cycle:
1. Denial — In my initial shock and confusion I wondered… How does my two-year-old even know about i-Pads? What is the ‘typical’ playground chit-chat in this digital age?
2. Anger — How dear the world be forcing these extravagances down the throats of babes! We cannot all afford these “toys.” Kids these days need to be outside climbing trees. Sound familiar?
3. Depression – Woe is me. What are we going to do, to support our poor child in this rat race world?
4. Bargaining – Accosting my partner with the ‘Five W’s and an H’ as he walks through the door with “Why does our daughter think we should have an iPad? Where did she learn about them? Who does she even know that has one? When did two-year-olds start thinking about such things? What are we going to do about this? How will we ever keep up?”
5. Acceptance – Then finally, with a sigh of relief, I remember that there are no rules. I allow my preconceptions to dissolve away and try to imagine what the future might look like for my daughter. I realise that if I am going to be a part of her digital world, then I need to step up to the play.
A Journey Begins
The journey into my digital world begins there. Five years later I have trained extramurally to become a teacher, taught in two secondary schools in the disciplines of Science and Mathematics, taken on the role of e-Leader and carried out postgraduate studies in applied practice of digital and collaborative learning with The Mind Lab by Unitec. I am now a Facilitator of Learning with Digital Technologies and an Advisor for the Connected Learning Advisory, as part of the government’s initiative to increase digital proficiency in learners and teachers across New Zealand. I am still only at the beginning of the road, but I now know that I am ready to learn, relearn and unlearn as I walk beside my children into my, their, and our digital world.
Rowley, K. (2016). The 5 Stages of Grief after Death. Houseforkim.com. Retrieved 24 January 2016, from http://houseforkim.com/2013/02/06/5-stages-grief/
YouTube. (2016). Steve Jobs introduces Original iPad – Apple Special Event (2010). Retrieved 24 January 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KN-5zmvjAo&feature=youtu.be