Highly effective educational systems utilize goal setting. Some of our goals are short term and some of them long range, taking years to see through. We start with our end in mind and create action steps to ensure that we get there. Along the way, we reflect on our progress toward the goal, assess our impact, and make necessary adjustments. Sometimes I wonder if we, myself included, get so caught up in an action step or initiative that we forget about our real end in mind.
For example, many districts are launching 1:1 device initiatives. This is great- so long as it is not the final end in mind. I believe the real end in mind is personalization of learning for students and staff. Technology, especially in a 1:1 setting, can be a very powerful tool to help us move from standardization to the personalization of learning. The same can be said for 21st century, flexible learning spaces. New spaces or furniture is not the ultimate end in mind. They are an action step to help us achieve something much bigger. They are a stepping stone to help us empower kids to learn about how they learn best, and make choices about where they learn. When technology or new furniture/learning spaces accompany the appropriate mindset and greater purpose, learning will be transformed. The transformation to personalization of learning and empowerment for all, I believe, is the real end in mind.