Everyday Life Now
Living in a big city, I commute to work each day. As I travel between home and school I am amazed by how many people are caught up in their own little world. I walk down the street and people have their faces down focused on their devices. I sit on the subway, faces down watching a show or playing a game. A bus drives by, faces down all plugged into a screen.
Then I arrive to school. We are very fortunate as we have many devices for students to use. In my grade level we are 1:1 iPad which is great! Students have a great resource and tool at their fingertips. However with this being my 8th year teaching students in a 1:1 environment, I am becoming a bit more concerned. With each year it seems “screen time” is increasing, and face to face interactions is decreasing.
So what will the future hold? For educators? For our students?
The Future of Education
As a teacher, there are so many resources available online it is crazy! Just in this course alone, I have been overwhelmed with all the new ideas and possibilities (MOOC, flipped classrooms, etc.). I love having more resources available, but in the back of my mind I am concerned that the more that is available via online, the more others might start to question the need for teachers.
As I was reading “The Classroom Is Obsolete: It’s Time for Something New“, by Prakash Nair I had some “Ah ha!” moments. First I was quickly reminded the core reasons why I teach. They are best summed up with these following principles:
“The following is a fairly universal list of education design principles for tomorrow’s schools, though it would be tailored to the needs of particular communities: (1) personalized; (2) safe and secure; (3) inquiry-based; (4) student-directed; (5) collaborative; (6) interdisciplinary; (7) rigorous and hands-on; (8) embodying a culture of excellence and high expectations; (9) environmentally conscious; (10) offering strong connections to the local community and business; (11) globally networked; and (12) setting the stage for lifelong learning.”
I love how the focus is on particular principles and not just content! As I continued reading the following part about designing a school for tomorrow, I got excited! I was able to envision the potential and power of a community working together to help their students, the future, developing the roles and responsibilities needed for them to survive and prosper.
“In designing a school for tomorrow, such underlying principles should drive the discussion. They would allow us to address questions around how students should learn, where they should learn, and with whom should they learn. We may discover that we need teachers to work in teams, that parents and community volunteers are available to help, that businesses will offer off-site training, that community organizations will permit the use of their recreational, cultural, and sporting facilities. We may conclude that it makes no sense to break down the school day into fixed “periods,” and that state standards can be better met via interdisciplinary and real-world projects.”
Wouldn’t that be amazing! The teachers would be the conductor. So even though more and more resources are online educators are still needed to help direct our students into the right direction.
Making it Happen…One Step at a Time
It is one thing to put something down on paper or to talk about it, it is completely different following through and doing it! So how will this work in my classroom?
Next year is a new year, a fresh start. I am moving countries, schools and positions. Just today my principal emailed to inform our team that we will be offering exploratory classes where the focus will be on problem solving and collaboration. How perfect is that?? An opportunity to reach out to the community and involve them with what we are doing. I don’t know what I want to off