Unfortunately, this accounts for a majority of the classrooms that I pass during my visits for various districts in my region. It's even more frustrating when I see interactive whiteboards and other equipment littered throughout the room going unused day after day.
And then there is the other side. There are the teachers who have embraced 21st century education. They have acknowledged and accepted the integration of technology in their daily activities. The students are moving about; they are working together. They are conducting research, asking questions, solving problems. The students are engaged; they are learning!
There is a profound divide between these two examples. Blame it on experience, years in education, professional development or the lack there of, availability of resources, time constraints, educational backgrounds, etc. etc. etc. In the end, there is still a divide. Schools spend a lot of money and even more time providing resources, equipment, and professional development opportunities for both groups. As a Technology Integration Specialist, guess which ones I see more often and which ones I see less often? Again, you can blame it on this, that, and the next thing.
Our educational systems are in a state of flux. We are standing before profound changes that can and will completely alter the educational process within the next five years. Wisconsin has already begun to adopt "progress-based groupings; dropping standardized practices in favor of customized learning plans; phasing out print textbooks in favor of dynamic digital resources; and shifting from teacher-led instruction to a blend of face-to-face and online approaches" (full article: http://bit.ly/fkBx9r). Others will surely follow suit.
Would your current staff be able to follow suit? Do the have the qualifications/skillset to keep pace? Better yet, would they even be willing to adapt? We've provided them with numerous opportunities in the past; how often have they embraced these opportunities then? Do you think they will embrace these opportunities in the future?
Going forward, what skillset should be reflected in education? What defines a 21st Century Education?
21st Century Schools (http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/) outlines a wide array of 21st Century educational definitions from the 21st century student to green initiatives.
Edtech Digest has developed "21 Definitions for a 21st Century Education."
Education Week asked a wide array of "educational experts" their thoughts on 21st Century skills in their article "How do you Define 21st Century Learning?"
There is a common theme between each of these definitions, which include:
- Effective Communication
- Relevance to the real world/work place
- Effective Information Analysis
- Technology Integration
Has your district and/or building begun to implement change? Have you as an educator implemented change in your classroom? If not, why haven't you?
The 21st Century model has embraced technology as part of the educational process. It's something we can opt in or out of. It is a vital component to education; it is a vital component to society. At the same time, we've moving towards an open collaboration model where we are able to share our ideas and collectively solve problems and complete assignments. The school building and the school day has expanded. It has expanded into cloud computing and collaboration where students are able to work from wherever whenever.
Change is happening. It's going to continue happening.
Where will you be at the end of the day?