Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Black Panther Style Tech Coaching Vol. 2

Marvel's Black Panther movie got me "EDUthinking" so much I had to write a second Black Panther Style Tech Coaching blog post.

In the previous Black Panther Style Tech Coaching post, I talked about how the fictional nation of Wakanda was blessed with a mineral called vibranium. Vibranium, in the world of Marvel, is the strongest metal on earth and extremely versatile. Vibranium was naturally infused into the plant life of Wakanda and it allowed the Wakandan people to develop an extremely technologically advanced society. Their technology is far more advanced than any current nation.

Infusion of vibranium into Wakandan landscape

Previously, I focused on how tech coaching should be infused into lesson design the way vibranium was infused into Wakandan technology, plant life and culture. This post has a different focus. This time, the focus is on sharing of ideas, strategies and student work.

In Black Panther, the main villain, Eric Killmonger, was a lost son of Wakanda. Eric grew up in America knowing of Wakanda's technological prowess. Throughout his life, this bugged Eric. He was angered about Wakanda keeping all their advances to themselves. He wondered why they wouldn't share their knowledge with the entire planet. He sought to use Wakandan technology to bring justice to the oppressed.

Image result for erik killmonger

Eric Killmonger's character arc is a great metaphor for tech coaching and education. Nowadays, we hear people talking about the dangers of "teaching in silos". No longer can we teach our content and hide it within the four walls of the classroom. You cannot attend an edtech conference or event without hearing of the virtues of sharing your expertise and growing a personal learning network (PLN). It is imperative for tech coaches to help facilitate the breaking down of classroom walls. We the tech coaches must help teachers integrate technology with the 4 C's so students create content that screams to be shared across the curriculum, the school, the district and world.

Image result for teaching in silos

Killmonger has a great point. Wakanda's technology is far more advanced than any nation on earth. In the movie, they displayed the ability to repair spinal injuries very quickly. They developed transportation systems that travel at immense speed without all the pollution. Those are things that should be shared worldwide to benefit of mankind. Granted, Killmonger did want to use Wakandan weapons to exact a revengeful idea of justice for the oppressed, but he was correct about Wakanda being wrong to horde their knowledge.

If you are doing amazing things with students, and the students are producing great content, don't be like Wakanda (I can't believe I just said that because I catch myself saying "Wakanda Forever" all the time). Share those things beyond your classroom. Start with your department and expand to your site. Continue sharing to your entire district. Join education Twitter Chats and Facebook Groups and continue sharing.

My philosophy on this is rooted in a lesson I learned, in college, about adolescent development. For some reason, I never forgot learning about how adolescents go through a stage where they think they are always on stage. In their minds, someone is always watching. According to Harriet Osborne, adolescent egocentrism sheds light on why they think they are the focus on everyone's attention. This reminds me of why people dress up for special occasions and parties. It's because people are watching. We want to show our best. That being said, it's my belief that students will try harder if they know people are watching. It's human nature.

Let's flip the Wakandan script. Like Wakanda, let's innovate and create. But unlike Wakanda, share it with a wider world. Give your students and ideas an authentic audience. This audience will not only be impressed, but it will provide valuable feedback. In this, you will grow as an educator and your students will become powerful communicators and better creators of content. For the Marvel fans out there, MCU in particular, imagine the innovation Tony Stark would have come up with had he had access to Wakandan technology.

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