Creating change is hard.
Convincing people, especially those in power, that the change you are making is meaningful and beneficial, can be even harder.
On a daily basis, I work to bridge three different disciplines: early childhood education, global education, and educational technology. While I see clear intersections and connections between these three fields, I have come to understand that not everyone feels similarly. In fact, at points I have encountered strong opposition to merging any two of those fields together (e.g., early childhood and educational technology or global education and educational technology), let alone all three. I have heard comments that educational technologies, even when used in developmentally appropriate ways, do not belong in the classroom because young children cannot understand them and should be focused on basic skills instead. I have been told that digital formats are not as valid for presenting academic and professional resources and that young children do not need to be socializing or engaging with world citizens (through technology) because that can come later in life.
Given my Reggio-inspired, global lens to (early childhood) education, many of these comments concern me. I believe even very young children are capable of meaningful and deep reflection that can then be expressed in various mediums, including technology. I also feel that our world is becomingly increasingly connected across the globe and therefore it is advisable that as educators we expose young children to different cultures and ways of thinking about the world and provide opportunities for them to connect with other world citizens. And clearly, given the recent launch of my new website for early childhood educators, I believe that digital mediums can be a meaningful and practical way to present resources and ideas in an open and collaborative format.
These beliefs motivate me to continue to push the existing boundaries of the three fields I am passionate about and to work to join them together. Yet, in the face of opposition, I can at times become discouraged or overwhelmed. This is why I feel privileged to be part of such a supportive and amazing community, the education community. These people, whether we interact face-to-face or online, support my interests in #globalearlyedtech (and yes, I believe that’s the trifecta of hashtags!) and they provide encouragement when others discourage or question my work. They were the people who responded via LinkedIn, Twitter, email, and word-of-mouth when I reached out asking for people to take and share a survey for my master’s Capstone research. They were the people who reviewed my website, providing comments, suggestions, edits, and ideas. They are the people I know I can turn to when I want to brainstorm or make meaning of an educational concept and they push me to think more deeply, questioning existing practices so I can create innovative products.
This is a community that will provide encouragement and celebrate with me when I engage in educational projects:
@hechternacht tweeted: @donnaroman @SherriWyllie @iEARNUSA Definitely an incredible #ece resource!! Congratulations to @mpowers3 #kinderchat
It’s a community that will remind me to persevere when it seems impossible to create the change I’m hoping for by integrating #globalearlyedtech into the philosophies that educator’s and academic’s believe and teach:
@Matt_Gomez tweeted: @mpowers3 reach others slowly, by never giving up and sharing the value. You never know what will be the tool/idea that works #ecetechchat
It’s a community that helps me to build new connections and reach out to new organizations so that I can share and learn with them:
@iEARNUSA tweeted: @ConnectStateGov #FF to @mpowers3 for new #ECE #GlobalEd resource site: bit.ly/H4I9xp #Exchange20
As @VickiEhlers tweeted “Share, share, share. And acknowledge the value of the what has been shared in a public way. Nurture relationships first! #ecetechchat“
The relationships I have formed with the education community, a group I define as collaborative, inspiring, supportive, thought-provoking, and dedicated, provide the mental and emotional energy I need to create change. I have been inspired and honored by how many people have reached out to me through my new website and I cannot wait to collaborate and share with them, to learn from their ideas, and to build new meaningful relationships as I continue to expand my connections to the education community. I hope you’ll join me there!