I can’t escape finding analogies between my hobbies and the EdTech world. It’s just the way my brain works, and I can’t stop myself from doing it. So when I settled in for the opening night of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier (which is awesome, by the way), while my brain was enjoying the comic book awesomeness it was also making an EdTech analogy:
Wow, a good EdTech plan is like the difference between the Marvel and D.C movie universes.
Allow me to explain. Marvel has been building its shared-universe empire since the release of Iron Man in 2008. And while that is a solid stand-alone film, Iron Man was just a single paint stroke in a broader picture. The plan was to introduce Iron Man, and then firmly establish the Hulk, Thor and Captain America in solo films – and the combine them in The Avengers. It was a brilliant move, and it worked – Marvel Studios is printing their own money at this point. Now they’re expanding the universe with Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange…and they’ve allegedly mapped out and plotted their films until the year 2028.
What amazing long-range vision, right? All of the heroes, villains and events tie into each other, and there is a clear plan dictated by visionary film executives and creative minds.
It’s kind of like a solid EdTech plan, isn’t it?
In an EdTech initiative there’s curriculum, hardware and professional development (and others) that need to work together seamlessly to achieve success (like the Avengers!). Each element must be thoughtfully considered and evaluated, just how each Marvel character was given his own standalone film to develop and flesh out the character. And in your district’s EdTech plan, there’s ideally a vision statement and a clear outline of when different elements will be deployed and what the expectations will be for staff and students. And if something goes wrong along the way, that’s acceptable – provided that the game-plan and transparency exist. Marvel Studios hasn’t released a turkey yet, but if they do – that’s fine. Because the overall vision, goals and game-plan will mitigate any problems – which is true of a quality EdTech plan for your district.
Does that sound like your district’s EdTech plan? If not, maybe your EdTech plan is like the D.C Comics movie universe.
D.C. has had some success over the years without any plan or vision. They lucked out with the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight films, and then released a fairly popular, but hotly-debated Superman film in 2013. So what’s D.C.’s plan going forward?
They don’t really have one.
D.C. wishes to copy the Marvel formula of “team-up” movies, but there is no vision and no clear outline of what they’re doing. From an outsider’s perspective, they’re just making it up as they go. Green Lantern tanked, and now they’ll be sticking a new Batman and Wonder Woman (and possibly more famous characters) in the next Superman movie without establishing their characters beforehand. There’s worry on the nerd streets that this will be a disaster.
Sound like your EdTech plan? Throwing things together without any long-range consideration and hoping they stick? Maybe your school or district is trying to copy the formula of a successful implementation, but it’s rushed, not thoughtful and no element of the plan is given the correct amount of consideration or analysis. Perhaps your PD, hardware deployment and curriculum tie-ins are done all at once without any of them really shining or working together with extreme fluidity?
Kind of sounds like the D.C. movie universe right now, doesn’t it?
So the next time you’re enjoying Iron Man 3 or checking out Man of Steel – ask yourself: is my district’s EdTech plan a Marvel plan or a D.C. plan? And if it isn’t Marvel, how can you go about righting the ship? Take a look at the Marvel long-range plans, and I think you’ll learn a lot.