Signs of educational change . . . How do we make these the norm?
1) eSchool News Online’s report on the The National School Boards Association's 20th annual Technology + Learning. The description of Kyrene Elementary School District in Tempe, Arizona, which was named as one of three "Salute Districts" (“given to districts that effectively use technology to enhance teaching and learning”), said the following about the Kyrene Teaches with Technology Project (KTTP):
“One of the keys to the project's success is that district leaders started with the question of what students need for learning--and then designed an environment around these needs, instead of the other way around. Another key to its success is that teachers can draw upon the support of a "technology mentor" to help them integrate the laptops into instruction.”
2) CNN.com’s coverage of the “School of the Future World Summit”:
“The conference, which drew 250 delegates from 48 countries, was held this week at Philadelphia's School of the Future, where all students have laptops, there are few books or pens, and teaching is done in multidisciplinary projects in which academic skills develop through work on real-world problems.”
3) See also the article by Neal Starkman in T.H.E. Focus, which discusses one-to-one learning and a student-centered rather than teacher-centered orientation toward learning.
By contrast, coverage of a recent National Research Council study by 15 education specialists states: “U.S. Science Education lags, study finds: Curriculum, teachers faulted for teaching too simplistically.” Quoting such coverage: “Part of the problem is that state and national learning standards for students in elementary and middle schools require children to memorize often-disconnected scientific facts, the report said.”
We must teach to each student rather than to a class. We must teach more than reading, writing and arithmetic. We must encourage problem solving skills, creativity, fluid enquiry -- this can be done by involving students in real world problems. If you go back to the Education System Change Model in my second blog post, you will see that my definition of tutorial is where we encourage student-centeredness, problem solving, cooperative learning, sharing of responsibility, and communication.