Monday, May 5, 2014

Who is Doing it Right?

With all this talk these days of a major paradigm shift in education and a student centered classroom model becoming the expectation in many schools, one must ask, who is doing it right? We have many pioneers that are taking risks and stepping outside of their comfort zone to find out how they can meet the needs of the digital natives lining the rows in our classrooms.
 Many schools have deployed programs that put technology in every student's hands while others continue to take a more conservative approach. Either way, it is not about the device it is about the instruction. We all know it needs to look different, but how different?
Project Based Learning/Flipped Classroom is a model that I have been trained on and have successfully implemented when I was an 8th grade Science teacher. My students asked their own questions and found their path to the answer. My role as the teacher was different. It was difficult at first, but once my students bought in, we were all hooked! I needed this experience to fully understand how different a classroom needs to look. Since then, I continue to ask, who is doing it right? How do they know they are meeting the needs of their students? What skills are truly important and how are we gauging this?
In the digital age, students can access any information in a split second. The days of mundane repeat and regurgitate are no longer acceptable. Problem solving and the ability to see beyond what is in front of you, is the necessity. Teachers need not only to have a vast knowledge of their content area but a strong understanding of how they can connect their students to the most current and relevant information in the field of study.
So, back to my point, who is doing it right? I believe, that schools that are building a support system for everyone including admin, teachers, students and parents are on the right track. Also, schools that are encouraging risk taking and getting of teachers and admin "off the island" to grow their PLN to stay current and expose themselves to the best of current instruction are leading the pack. I am not sure that any one school has it all figured out, but I do know that it is important to me to be a part of figuring it out. Schools must take the initiative to find out what future ready learning will look like in their schools, before someone else does it for them.
In closing, I do not have the answers, but will continue my journey to find out what is working for our students. Educators need to continue to redefine the skills students need to cultivate to be successful in their world not ours.
Here are some old students of mine from my 8th grade class working on an interactive pig dissection. The students wrote, directed, and managed the content and technology for a distance learning that was broadcast to over 800 students with 4 interactive sites. 

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