I wrote this post over four years ago and it still holds true. We need educators like Moliehi Sekese to continue to inspire us through all of the challenges we face as we try to innovate and make a difference. I hope you are inspired, as I was all over again, by her and her students
Recently, I have seen too many news stories about school budgets being voted down, federal educational technology programs no longer being funded, and the continued attacks on educators from politicians and other organizations. I know that this has been going on for a while but it has really made me reflect on where we are in terms of the state of our educational programs in this country and the attitude we must take. We are a country that is supposed to be a leader in this world and we are spending more time, and money, pointing fingers then trying to fix our problems.
As educators we are supposed to be preparing our students for their futures as wise content consumers and producers. Savvy technology users that can innovate, collaborate, and be creative with a global perspective. Yet, for the most part, we continue to feel demoralized for not being given the proper support and tools to achieve these goals.
Now that I have vented, I want to put this into perspective. I want you all to meet Moliehi Sekese, a Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Teacher Award recipient. Moliehi, from the very small and poor South African country of Lesotho, has been globally recognized as an innovative integrator of technology. Her class size is about 100 students, that is not a typo, and the school does not have electricity. But she uses her personal laptop, as long as the battery lasts, and some innovative teaching techniques to teach and integrate technology. Please take time to listen to her words in the video below and read her story on Ewan McIntosh's bog. You can also, read more and see a longer interview on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog. She is an amazing woman who can teach us all how to be innovators in a time when we need it the most. As you will hear her say,
"Stop blaming the challenges. Use a stumbling block as a stepping stone to success."
So, if you are feeling sorry for yourself when you are faced with the one computer classroom or you can't get that new set of mobile devices for your school, take a minute and remember Moliehi, and what she doing to be innovative, successful and inspiring to her students and colleagues. She is certainly an example for all of us to remember when we think we can't overcome a challenge.
I will leave you with this quote, by Dr. Martin Luther King:
"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
It serves as a reminder to me when I get upset or depressed about that challenges that I face everyday as I try to help the teachers and students in my school district achieve their goals to become twenty-first century workers and learners. I hope it inspires you to move forward as well. I know that Moliehi is a living example.
Frank Pileiro is a Technology Coordinator in Southern New Jersey, Google Certified Trainer, and co-organizer of #ChromeCampSNJ. He is passionate about educating with creativity and innovation, as well as imparting these skills to our students with instructional technologies. He is the author of the EdTech Innovations blog, where he writes about educational technology innovation and integration. He can be followed on Twitter @FrankPileiro