My daughter goes to a 20th century school that mistakingly thinks it embraces 21st century learning simply because it allows students to bring their own device. This is particularly frustrating to me since I speak on this very subject at schools and conferences around the country.
"Daddy, I need to buy a scientific calculator for math class!" I respond, "Oh sweetie, you're so cute. No one with a brand new iPad mini needs to buy a physical calculator any more. Just tell me what functions you need it to do and I'll help you find the right app." To which she says, "No. We're not allowed to use our iPads or phones. The teacher says we can cheat that way by texting, IMing, or emailing answers to each other." *facepalm*
I would like to crowdsource here and ask for comments as to how to best deliver my email to this school's academic director.
Not too long ago, an autism diagnosis was seen as a door tightly shut on a world that communicated differently. Today, people with autism have a powerful key to unlock that door — thousands of apps to help them communicate.
As I prepare a presentation on 21st Century Skills, I find myself dealing with having to first be clear on what they are NOT. Only because for many, the term "21st Century" is synonymous with technology. In this post, I won't get into the details of why it's not.
What I would like to share is my realization that terrible times lie ahead for bad teachers. Conversely, there has never been a more exiting time for a good educator than today and the near future!
In order to make a statement like that, I owe it to my readers to give my definition of each type of teacher.
Do not want to learn new things.
Have "the book" lead instruction and feel the need to always stick to it.
Are comfortable doing the same lessons (the same way) year after year.
Never step out of their comfort zone. Live in their own bubble and do not see the need to live outside of it.
Only teach facts and assess the ability to memorize those facts ("Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer, deserves to be." -David Thornburg).
Design tests to be easily gradeable.
Think that all progress in education are "fads."
Do not learn new things... oops, I already wrote that! It bears repeating because SOOOO much can be learned from other colleagues!
Care whether their students find the learning relative.
Are ALWAYS looking for new ways to engage their students.
Embrace quality professional development as often as they can.
Learn from and share with other educators.
Have gotten this far into this post and are nodding their heads ;-)
My hopes are that we QUICKLY get to the point where teachers who do not inspire and engage will be seen as employees who are simply not doing their jobs and be let go. Or, they may move to schools that don't "get it" (yet) and find a safe haven there for now. Either way, it's time for ALL teachers to pick a side. And yes, there's plenty of room on the "good side" for bad teachers to make the change. Here's hoping!
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