Meeting the needs of the 21st Century Learner has been particularly challenging for educators, system leaders and governments around the world. Technology has been such a large driving force in changing education over the last ten to fifteen years and it is most visible when we examine classroom environments. However, the most important change has been in the pedagogy of teaching and learning.
What is this pedagogy of teaching and learning today? What does it look like?
Well there is no ‘one/right’ way in using technology in the classroom, and I suppose that this is the most frustrating thing for educators who have been institutionalised to be process driven and product focussed. “Just tell me when and how to use it.”
I personally feel for any seasoned educator who has been driven out of teaching because of the fear they faced in using technology. You may be be asking why… Personally, I think back to the time early in my career when I had the MOST wonderful lesson planned…. I got my kids engaged, and ready to unveil the interactive CD Video in the desktop, which was hard wired to the digital projector and external speakers, facing the tripod which had the white pull-down projector screen. Unfortunatley, the bulb blew 3min in! Time to plan it…Time to set it up… Time to work out what was wrong… Time where my students missed out on learning…. I can only imagine that this feeling of standing in front of the students trying to rectify the problem is the feeling they faced every day!
Today the practice of using technology has moved on. Technology is not being used as the person in front of the class. It is being used as the tool to engage enquiry within the collaborative classroom, to personalise the learning and to break down previous learning barriers. Technology has helped to unlock the nature of learning.
Do you think that Einstein went to school to learn how to develop nuclear energy?…. I think not. I bet, by most part learning something new began with a desire or want for that something – “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”. Today the role of the educator has shifted to play the part of the stimulus and to facilitate, track and monitor the inquiry into the learning – as it happens.
Previously, governments saw technology as the tool to provide a quick fix and improve results. It was the miracle maker in the acquisition of knowledge. Unfortunately, this was not and is not the case. Technology is only as good as the practitioner in charge of the class….And like the students, that educator needs to embrace change ‘like no tomorrow’. As one of my peers asks in his blog; “How many school are using technology as a $1000 pencil?”.
There was a wonderful article published in the New York Times last month, on the use of Technology in the classroom at East Mooresville Intermediate School. The article explores the success of the school’s increased performance in reading, mathematics and science, in relation to the use of technology. Mark Edwards, superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District said;
“This is not about the technology…It’s not about the box. It’s about changing the culture of instruction — preparing students for their future, not our past.”
Though other schools in the area, and in other districts, use technology in educating their students, administrators and teachers at Mooresville saw the main difference that set them a part from other schools was that;
they value computers not for the newest content they can deliver, but for how they tap into the oldest of student emotions — curiosity, boredom, embarrassment, angst — and help educators deliver what only people can. Technology, here, is cold used to warm……Many classrooms have moved from lecture to lattice, where students collaborate in small groups with the teacher swooping in for consultation.
In the hallways of their school, corridors read:
“iBelieve, iCan, iWill.”