Friday, April 23, 2010

Mandate for change

"One of the participants in my morning session said that I didn’t appreciate how far along you all are and that you are way above average when it comes to integrating technology into your instruction. And yet, from my conversations with many of you over the past few days, it’s very clear to me that there still are many things you’re not doing. For example, most of you have yet to put a computer in every kid’s hands; that’s why you’re here at this 1:1 conference. Most of you have yet to incorporate online courses into your curricula in any kind of substantive way. Few of you are teaching students to be empowered – not just responsible – digital citizens in our new information landscape. Few of you have a staff full of educators that are modeling active participation in that landscape. As far as I can tell, none of you has robust student assessments at every grade level that target higher-level, more cognitively-complex thinking and doing and being. None of you has moved to a truly personalized learning environment for every student, one in which students’ progress is facilitated and perhaps assessed by technology and is organized around student competence and completion rather than age and grade level. So some of you are sitting there in the audience feeling pretty good about yourselves. And you should. You’re blessed with wonderful financial resources, fantastic facilities, and amazing faculty. But for those of you who think I don’t appreciate how far along you are, all I can say is that I’m not sure you appreciate how far you still have to go."

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I stole this quote and video from a blog called Sentiments on Common Sense which is written by Andy Torris who is the Deputy Head at Shanghai American School. I loved this quote and thought that the video of Scott McLeod's presentation is right on the money.

I had the privilege of attending the American School of Bombay's first 1:1 conference a couple of years ago and I remember meeting Scott McLeod at the conference. At the time, his keynotes were awesome and really pushed me to think about what kind of skills we are teaching our students in our schools at the present time. I have to admit, that I left that conference over two years ago inspired to change my personal practice as well as advocate for change within my own school to help our students acquire these essential skills. Upon reflection, I think that we have made some great stride exposing our kids to some of the skills that Scott is talking about in his keynote, but I agree that we have a long way to go to ensure that our students are prepared for the world that will await them when they enter the "real world" in just a few short years.

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