Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Respecting Tradition Yet Alive to Innovation

I started my new job last week as the Director of Academic Technology for Belmont Hill School. Belmont Hill is an independent boys school for students in grades 7 -12. Needless to say, I haven't had much time for blogging. I have been getting to know the faculty and the school. It is always challenging to start a new job. I am thankful to the faculty and staff at Belmont Hill for being so helpful and welcoming.

One of the things that drew me to Belmont Hill is their mission statement:
"Respecting tradition yet alive to innovation, our structured and rigorous program provides students with clear expectations and consistent encouragement, a framework for growth that honors creativity, teamwork and competition..."
I love the juxtaposition of tradition and innovation. I truly believe that these two ideas can exist in harmony. As I told the faculty, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. I just want to add some bubbles. Excellent teaching can thrive without technology. But being "alive to innovation" requires a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, take risks and perhaps fail. Successful innovations usually don't start out successfully. I'm looking forward to learning more about the traditions of Belmont Hill and helping us all to embrace the innovations that new technologies can offer.

Photo Credit: "BelmontMA." May 1999. [http://www.belmontma.com/schools/belmont_hill/belmont_hill_content.html]. 9-5-08.

9 comments:

Bill Gaskins said...

Good luck with your new job! They are lucky to have you.

Bill

Anonymous said...

I wish you GRAND success!!! It is great to be standing where you can see yesterday, today, and tomorrow.....isn't it??

Jen

SCMorgan said...

Liz, we have many of the same discussions at our school. I'll be interested to watch your progress:)

Liz Davis said...

Thanks Bill and Jen!

stoneTeacher said...

Liz, your blog update resonates with my passion - teaching traditional craft skills using contemporary communication technologies. I do this to enhance learning experiences for my young adult students, and to build a productive network. I regularly journal my experiences, hoping that other like-minded work skills teachers will join with me to create a truly interactive web community.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts - wishing you every success in your new job. (Simon Brown)

lnitsche said...

Liz,
I love your image of bubbles in the bath water. Who can resist mixing it up a bit and having fun learning? I can hardly wait to see them learn the power of what is inside those bubbles! Congrats and good luck!
Linda

diane said...

I sincerely believe in the blend of old and new, tradition and innovation.

You might say, I am a living example of such a blend ;-)

Liz Davis said...

Thanks Simon, Linda and Diane!

Simon, Your work is a fabulous example of blending traditional skills with a new knowledge economy. I've really enjoyed catching up on your blog.I know you are in my network, but I don't think I've looked at it before. I've added you to my reader.

Linda, Do you think the "bubbles" image makes the technology seem frivolous? I've been struggling with the metaphor. I like it, but I don't want take away from the importance of integrating technology. It isn't just fluff on top. (I know that isn't what you were saying, it is what I'm struggling with)

Diane - you are a brilliant example - you definitely add the bubbles (and not in a frivolous way).
-Liz

Bill Graziadei, Ph.D. (e)Learning Consultant said...

Good luck with 'bubble making'; you're all about tradition and innovation; it's a win-win situation for you and Belmont Hill. But, most importantly for the 7-12 students.