Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Star Wars pancakes
Picture from Flickr CC by are you gonna eat that

A friend of mine directed me to a documentary on George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic company. I'm a huge movie guy and a bigger Lucas fan. I sat down late last night and watched all six parts on YouTube. It was very cool. As I watched, the one thing that was really focused on was the fact that the ILM team was being asked to do things that were "not possible". They were the first to do many things involving technology and film. They never said, "We can't do this", it was always, "How can we make this happen and make it great?"

I look at my approach to teaching the same way. When I encounter an obstacle, I immediately think of ways to accomplish the task. It might be something that has never been done before or it might be using tools in ways people haven't used them for. No matter what the situation, I committed myself to finding a way.

I think people assume that innovation needs to be a life altering invention. It doesn't. Innovation can simply be taking a different approach to an old problem. Using a tool in a different way to make something, like a lesson, more successful. Lucas and his team at ILM did this time and time again.

There was a brief part where the documentary covered the resistance from the old guard of special effects. There were some people that did not like the changes and wanted nothing to do with it. It took some hand-holding, but some of the more resistant people eventually came over and became some of the best in the business. It wasn't said, but the feeling was there that those who refused to adapt were left behind.

This is where we are in education. There are amazing educators that are resistant to change, but could be some of the strongest users of technology in the classroom. They could be the innovators if given the time and proper training. However, there will be those that will be left behind as the rest of us move forward. That is just an inevitable part of innovation and progress.

I highly recommend that you watch the documentary. It's only an hour, but it really shows the determination of a group of passionate people bent on setting the standard for the movie industry.

I think there is a group of educators out there trying to do the same for education and I'm proud to be among them.

If we keep working hard, we can make a difference and set the standard for what education looks like in this country.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

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