"Welcome to the Future," by Brad Paisley has been my motto and inspiration in my first year of my position as Technology Leadership Coordinator.
Brad Paisley’s video illustrates the change in our world from history to present and through his music he provides examples of change for the better. An example he uses of how he use to get a ride down to the arcade to play Pacman, but now he has it on his phone is a strong statement that describes the change in technology. Mr. Paisley’s lyrics mention his grandfather fighting the Japanese in WWII and now Mr. Paisley has video chats to companies in Tokyo. What a powerful transformation of history. I believe his most inspirational message in his song is when he sings about how a running back on his football team had a cross burned on his front yard for asking out the homecoming queen. He relates this verse to being proud that we have our first black American President. He sings “Wake up Martin Luther, welcome to the future.”
Since writing and producing this song, Mr. Paisley was invited to the Whitehouse to perform this song in front of President Obama. Society has come very far in a relatively short period of time. Barriers have been broken for equal opportunity.
“Look around it’s all so clear, wherever we were going well we’re here,” is a
powerful representation moving from the past to the present.
“So many things I thought I would never see, are happening right in front of me,” is very true in my reflection of my teaching career. I am amazed at what our capabilities are with technology. Change is happening daily. Students have the world at their fingertips with the digital age we live in.
I feel that teachers are caught in the rapid technological change and are behind the students in their knowledge and use. I believe it is pivotal that educators embrace change and try to learn what kids are interested in. I am an advocate of 21st Century Learning and this video inspires me in my work. I am proud to know that I am up to speed with the wants and needs of children and the way they learn. My job is to teach leaders the importance of getting up to speed with the technological needs of the students. Modeling is proven an effective buy-in strategy and leaders need to model the use so their teachers will see the importance.
We as teachers, are our own worst enemies. We can sit in a meeting with a laptop in front of us, a cell phone ringing and still listen to PD speaker. But when we go back into the classroom we expect our students to sit straight, keep quiet and listen, and do the worksheets placed in front of them. How hypocritical. Today is the future. We need to change our practice now, not tomorrow, not after retirement, but now. We have to get use to doing things differently in the classroom. We are doing things in our own lives differently as learners, so let us help shape others.
The lyrics Mr. Paisley writes have symbolized the change in the shape of the world. Barriers that once were, are now removed, providing all of us with choices for our future. Are we giving our students these choices?
It takes time to change, but the future is now. “Welcome to the Future,” may inspire others to see how far we have come. It also might allow for some teachers to reflect on their professional growth. I know it did for me.