Reinventing the Wheel

by 2:22 PM 2 comments

You've heard that right? Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Why work so hard on something that's already done? When I cook, I try to keep this mantra in mind - why would I make a homemade pizza if I can order one?

When I was student-teaching, my co-op teacher told me this. And don't get me wrong, I loved her for it. I needed to learn the basics before I tried something advanced. But as I am in the early stages of my educational technology career, I want to reinvent it. Or maybe a better term is re-imagine. 

The evolution of the wheel.
No matter what you think, the wheel has changed. How would our cars look with stone tires? The wheel has gone through an evolution, and it looks like within the last 10 years or so,  education has been doing the same (NCLB anyone?).  Add to that the explosion of technology in the classroom, it's time to re-imagine the wheel. 

10 years ago, I didn't care. I was just graduating high school and thought I would be the next ESPN Sportscaster of the Year.  I wanted to do whatever it took, by whatever means my teachers told me, to get through and move to the next steps. Just get me on TV. I wanted people to hear what I was saying. And I did this because it was easy. I got the Journalism degree, worked in a TV station, moved on to a radio station, and eventually burned out. All within about four years. I was doing enough to get paid, but I felt like I should be doing more. I was in a rut. I was tired of doing the same thing. 

Enter teaching. I lucked out. I felt that this was my way to make a difference (side note: I think I am). After two years of teaching freshmen English, my "dream job" opened up. Now I'm entering my 2nd year teaching journalism (print and electronic media). In order to be happy, I re-imagined how I could better serve people. Now people listen to me... and I think a few are even learning!

The flipped-classroom, one-to-one classrooms (whether bring your own device or a common device), and grading scale modifications (from As and Fs to a 4.0 scale) are all examples of how we are already moving forward and away from the old "one-size-fits-all" thinking. 

But we have to get over the hump. My grad class professor mentioned that he feels that education is the one field where we don't always abide by the research for what is working. He likened it to a surgeon who has heard of this new technique for doing a surgery that has proven to be more efficient, and have a lower mortality risk, but wants to continue because he/she is more comfortable doing it the way it has always been done. 

The Dyson fans. No blades and "cooler" air; figuratively and literally. 
I am excited to be a part of the change. And I hope that someday I can do more than just relay information, but contribute to the growth. I love education, and I love technology; and I really think that the image of the "wheel" will be like that of the Dyson fan, something completely revolutionary. 

What do you think? Do you agree with my professor? Are we changing? And is it for the better? Let me know!



I do a lot of things. The best thing I do is fathering (I think). I'm the ol' "Jack of all trades, Master of none." I teach aspiring journalists. I run. I play guitar(s). I also host a running podcast. Oh, and I dabble in drawing. And I dabble in authoring... children's books no less. I just dabble. Sometimes I ramble.


  1. I like your comments, questions and reflections on change. I think with any "change" comes fear of the unknown. But what learners fail to remember - new learning only evolves after a great deal of confusion, frustration, trials and errors, and finally the next level of understanding where we may be content for a while - then on to the next level of reaching for more. Your "wheel" is still round as education is still an institution of learning and service. But the "fan" is interesting - it takes an inventive individual to ask, "What if we did it like this?" - an individual who is never satisfied with mediocre. After 30 years of teaching, I know we are changing. I too embrace technology; however, I believe if we accept the fact that adding technology into the classroom will be messy, frustrating, confusing, and require a great deal of "trial and error" it will be a change worth striving for.

    1. I absolutely agree that this will be messy. We have to allow ourselves (and our students) to fail, so that they can learn from those mistakes. I brought up on a Facebook post for the school newspaper and the first comment dealt with how students might break or steal the technology; and while I think that might be true at first, I think there will be a point when it just clicks and that stuff won't happen any more (or at least to a lesser extent). But I also agree that this is a change worth striving for, learning from, and eventually succeeding in.