Summer Reflections II

One of the things I am concentrating on this summer is my role as the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT)grant coordinator. This grant has given our schools a much needed infusion of new technology during what may be the most austere times we have experienced in the last twenty years. We have replaced some aging computers with this grant, but the main focus has been purchasing laptops that are deployed as classroom sets in mobile labs. (not enough resources yet to go 1:1) Our hope is that the new tech, in conjunction with lots of training and time, will help our schools transform our curriculum delivery. Over the past week we have hosted several teacher tech camps that have concentrated on the use of web 2.0 tools in the classroom that allow the classroom to become student centered where students are actively exploring, considering, and creating content. We have made some considerable progress over the past several years in integrating technology and the many ways it can enhance the classroom experience for the learner, BUT, in my opinion, we have a lot of work left to do! So much of what we do does not relate to “real world” experiences. We concentrate on a small set of skill sets (note taking, memorizing, listening, application of knowledge)and ignore those skills that are used on a daily basis in the adult world. Don’t get me wrong. I believe that the above skills are important, but the methodology that predominates in the classrooms that I observe concentrates on those above skills exclusively. Students need to collaborate, create, present, debate, discuss, and interact on a more regular basis. Today’s students are doing these things outside of school all the time and are learning lots of things (some good, some not so good) using Facebook, texting, and gaming venues like XBox Live.) We need to create a balance in schools where academic skills are more like what happens outside of school while maintaining emphasis on the knowledge base that is crucial to the continuation of our democracy and way of life. I would like to hear the success stories that you are having in your schools! Please share them with us!

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