What if you were told that students in our educational system are lost? What if you were told that teachers in our educational system are lost? What if you were told that our educational leaders are also lost? Would you believe it? There has been a movement to improve the American Educational System for some time now, yet it seems that our system would be a direct reflection of a classroom that existed 10, 15, or even 20 years ago! Is any of this new, or earth shattering to hear?
What has truly been lost is the knowledge of what the digital age can actually provide. For many district personnel, the focus has been on infrastructure, PCs, Laptops, tablets, SmartBoards, access, etc. While it is important to make sure that decisions being made on these items are vetted, these are decisions that will not truly affect the success of the classroom. These are decisions being made on the “tools” to be used in the classroom. Yes, we must equip our students and teachers properly in the move to a Blended Learning Environment, but we must not lose focus on the biggest change that technology provides to the classroom. We must identify that the move to technology is not as linear as moving from a pencil to a pen.
The discussion that has been lost needs to be centered around how students are able to acquire knowledge. With today’s technology, the teacher does not have to be the center of information. Anyone using technology properly has an infinite supply of knowledge at their fingertips. The key word being “Properly”! Whereas students and teachers in the past were limited to texts, self-knowledge, and the knowledge of colleagues- Today, students and teachers alike have access to the same knowledge base through the internet. The transformation that classrooms today must make is to allow and educate students on who, what, when, where, and how to gather and research the information they are inquiring to learn. The teacher must transform him or herself to become a facilitator of learning, rather than position themselves as the center of knowledge.
It is not necessary to develop the futuristic classroom that many are seeking to bring a Blended learning Class to your students. It is, however, necessary to provide our teachers with Professional Development around using technology in the classroom, and around how to facilitate students vetting the instant information they receive properly. There is no reason why a classroom should not have the capability to enable every student to learn by means best suited for them individually, while also allowing a teacher to guide whole group lessons. The technology tools along with the access to infinite information will support a great teacher in enabling life-long learners in their classroom.
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