I wish they would start adding the following necessary skill: "Be able to pulse check /survey the relevant landscape(s) so as not to get broadsided." (Though this needs to be wordsmithed, you get the idea.). We are moving at 180mph, we need to be looking out at the horizons, not at the hoods of our cars.
Stuart Brotman writes about how the Department of Education's latest National Educational Technology Plan moves beyond the usual digital divide perspective to emphasize a “digital-use divide” in how apps are actually utilized in schools.
Now, with nearly 20 years of middle and high school teaching behind me, I still respect the writing process approach and its benefits. I also recognize that the nature of writing has changed tremendously over those two decades due to the significant influence of digital tools and sources. Of course, today’s composers still must meet the commonly accepted conventions of the genre in which they are engaged, but our visual digital culture creates different demands than did the primarily print text-based world.
To better understand how educating individuals can make a global difference, consider what we should stop doing, what we should start doing, and what we should continue doing.
What Should We Stop Doing?Stop teaching as if we have the answers.Stop rushing.Stop talking.What Should We Start Doing?Start looking for problems to solve, actions to take, and beauty to create.Start seeking out authentic, high-stakes audiences for student work.
Rather than gauging if the toilet has enough water, the soap bottle is full enough and the lights are the perfect level, your smart bathroom can ask, “How was your visit?” You can say “Good,” or perhaps, “Bad — there wasn’t enough soap.” This eliminates the need for so much tracking, and makes the experience feel more human. Ultimately, our devices will rely on our feedback just as much as data.
Effective teachers for all classrooms? It’s time for teacherpreneurs
Education conversations around the globe are focused on how to recruit, evaluate, and develop effective teachers. And for good reason. A steady drip of empirical evidence has shown that teachers are the most crucial in-school factor in student learning.
But in many cases education policy leaders have fixated on firing bad teachers and recruiting better ones. They have paid far less attention to spreading the expertise of the many effective teachers already teaching—or to providing them with opportunities to lead without leaving their classrooms and profession.
Enter the teacherpreneur—who teaches students regularly but has the time, space, and reward to incubate and execute his or her own ideas. Imagine a public school teacher who has the respect (and income potential) of an endowed chair at a research university and whose pedagogical and policy expertise drives innovative, collaborative projects that spread effective teaching practices.
There are at least six sound reasons for this bold brand of teacher leadership:
Researchers have proven that students learn more when their teachers collaborate in deep and authentic ways; Principals alone cannot address demands of 21st-century learning and accountability; Top-performing nations invest in teachers as leaders; The most effective teacher evaluation systems are driven by master teachers; Teachers trust their teaching colleagues more than anyone else to help them improve their practice; and Large percentages of teachers are interested in leading without leaving the classroom.
"This is our first year of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and boy, did the students bring it. They brought it all! We have iPads, Surface RT and Pro, iPhones, Droids, Chromebooks, Macs, and PC laptops. Here's my current thinking. Please share yours in the comments section below."
Not only is the idea of telling stories with video really engaging for many kids, filmmaking is ripe with opportunities to connect to almost every academic subject area. As the technology to shoot and edit films becomes more ubiquitous, where is a teacher with no experience in video production to begin?
We neither need nor want to remove or diminish the role of the teacher in the "in-school" success of students. We do however need to amplify the role and the voice of students and their families. Learning doesn’t take place unless it is consensual; a willingness on the part of the teacher and family: to listen, to respond, and to understand the significance of how all these factors influence students in the process.
The only rational answer to the conundrum of curiosity is to disengage our educational system from standardized testing and common curricula. Curiosity does not hold up well under intense expectation. Give agency to teachers, with the explicit message to slow down and provide students time to wonder and be curious.
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