The Procedo Project has been a long-time coming in concept. For several years, I enjoyed a collegial relationship with Eduscape CEO, Alex Urrea, via the partnership we created between ISTE and the National Catholic Educational Association. Together, we established cohorts of Catholic educators around the country to offer them ISTE certification at a reduced rate. We were both excited and proud of this work to build capacity among Catholic educators long term. We also both recognized there was so much more we could do.
Many of my passion projects over the years organically became related to rethinking established methodology, offerings and mindsets. I was blessed to be able to build a national webinar program, author micro-credentials, be a thought-leader in the digital discipleship movement, create new relationships with national organizations, advance the Edcamp movement in Catholic schools and connect with the amazing colleagues that engage in the #CatholicEdChat. These have all been such life-giving experiences, that have helped me grow as much as I have contributed to the field. When coming across other like-minded colleagues that believe in Catholic education, it invigorates me because I see so much possibility just within grasp. So it was only natural that Alex Urrea and I became fast friends.
When the pandemic hit early last year so many events were canceled and organizations had to make difficult decisions to downsize staff. Eduscape pivoted into high gear, quickly offering free webinars and support to help educators adapt to hybrid and remote teaching. As we saw the response from educators, Alex said to me, “It’s time to do this. We have to help these Catholic schools be successful and I want you to lead it.” That was the birth of The Procedo Project and I am humbled by the faith he put in me as Chief Learning Officer. Together we from the ground up while providing triage to educators who need us during COVID. The Procedo Project started simply as the Catholic schools division of Eduscape, but we are proud to now stand as a non-profit 501 (c)3 under the Rethink Learning Foundation. Eduscape will continue to be an involved partner in the work of The Procedo Project.
We did not know what the response would be for The Procedo Project when we started. We have been humbled by the response from schools, dioceses, organizations, publishers and education companies immediately excited to work with us. We have accomplished a lot in a short time. Our goal is both simple and complex. We want to help Catholic schools and ministries be successful, relevant and self-sustaining. We want to elevate practice and make a difference. How we do this will take many forms and will continue to evolve. Our first big initiatives will be launching the Forefront 2021 Virtual Summit as well as a Global Catholic Educator Community via EdWeb.net. We ask you to join this free network to connect with educators all over the world to elevate Catholic education. As a thank you, you will receive a discounted rate should you choose to join us for our inaugural virtual summit.
Watch us grow, pray for us and join us. We have a lot of work to do and big things ahead!
Is anyone else feeling overwhelmed running tech support to their online learners? Several times a day I am called down the stairs to troubleshoot zoom, help my kids add an attachment, locate a file or get something to print correctly. Conversely, teachers are incredibly frustrated with kids not attaching assignments correctly, being unable to locate resources and generally being pretty bad at practical applications of technology. How can this be, when so many parents and educators have been fighting the specter of screentime for over a decade?
The assumption that kids are inherently good at using technology is a fallacy. These digital natives do not have a leg up on their teachers in some very critical ways. Assuming kids are good at online learning because they are good at making TikTok videos and playing video games makes about as much sense as assuming someone good at miniature golf will seamlessly figure out how to shoot 18 holes on a real golf course.
Growing up with technology as entertainment might have actually put today’s students at a disadvantage for online learning. Personally, I am a Gen X digital immigrant. Just before the turn of the century, back in the 1990’s I took typing as a high school senior. My first computer class was in college. It consisted of a big, thick Microsoft user manual. We painstakingly practiced things like naming files, changing margins, double spacing, using calendars, creating footnotes and other equally thrilling skills. While I value my education in many ways, these two classes are the ones that stand out as those who actually gave me practical skills that I use every day.
Professionals use technology for productivity, organization and executive function. This application of technology for students is largely new to them. While they have high levels of proficiency in using technology for socializing, entertaining and content creation, they are the same children with messy notebooks, lost papers and forgotten lunch boxes. Why did we assume they would take to this like fish to water? Adults and kids use and view technology in completely different ways.
Adults and kids have also acquired technology skills in a different order. Kids have started with macro applications of technology and we have to teach them how to drill down into micro uses of technology. Conversely, adults often start with micro applications of technology and learn how to scale them up to macro applications. As teachers scramble to learn how to create videos, online communities and design websites, students are struggling to learn how to navigate student portals, organize their files and manage their time. While adults were chastising kids for spending so much time socializing on screens, they were developing skill sets we didn’t know how badly we would need as coping mechanisms to continue life, education and the economy during this global crisis.
So, since my kids like to tease me and say “OK Boomer” every time I am not up to date on the latest YouTuber or Meme, I finally get to say it back when coaching them through a fillable PDF. If your students are driving you crazy with misplaced attachments, not being able to find assignments or other seemingly straightforward skills, it may be time to stop, take a time out and just focus on those concrete yet monotonous skills just to make your life easier in the long run. Just like the first days of school in a traditional setting, procedures, policies, rules and habits need to be explicitly practiced. If you didn’t have them in place on day one, it is not too late to do a reboot and start.
This is a challenging year for many reasons. Assume good intentions and remember that students of all ages honestly might not know how to do some of these things. We are all learning. Be kind to them and to yourselves. This year, we might actually be preparing kids for the “real world”.