Friday, December 5, 2008

So What is the Future of Schools? - Will Richardson

The school that I teach in looks nothing like the one I attended. The room I started teaching in wasn't the same as the one I finished teaching in. Will Richardson's blog post "So What is the Future of Schools?" ponders what "schools of the future are supposed to be about." He says while at the Microsoft School of the Future Summit, one conversation talked about teachers not using technology because the students were passing the tests fine without it. Is that acceptable? What should be the goal of a school: Pass a standardized test or prepare for the future? How do we blend the excellent teaching that is currently going on with the available technology? More importantly, how do we convince those who disagree with technology in the classroom of it's benefit?
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Beth said...

The question of what should be the goal of a school: Pass a standardized test or prepare for the future? is a great question that we all ponder. We all know the answer, prepare for the future, however with No Child Left Behind and accountability, we are almost being pushed to teach with lessons more geared to tests. We don't teach the test per say, but we prepare for tests.

Blending technology with current teaching practices is what all teachers and schools with access to technology should be doing. Jobs and a majority of life in the future will use technology. By teaching with it we are preparing students for the future. Teachers that are reluctant of adding technology into current teaching practices are either unwilling to learn themselves or don't want to take time to redo lesson plans.

In order to convince resistant teachers of the benefits of using and teaching technology in the classroom, we must teach them. Free classes during the school day, videos teachers can watch and train with at home, other teachers that use technology to collaborate with, and having technology available are all ways to help encourage teachers to change their current teaching practices. We must make the learning process easy and not causing teachers extra work if we want them to embrace the ideas we have for them.

Kali said...

I am really interested to see where education goes in the next 10-20 years. So much has changed already since I was in school. I remember my first computer in school was in 5th grade and the screen was in all green! How things have changed.

I'm not sure how I feel about all online classes. I can't imagine being in high school and not having to "go" to school. I know you still have to do work, and your communication through type would probably be top notch when you were done, but where is the socialization in all that. Being able to speak in front of the class and working together. How much would you be doing when all your classes are online? That goes back to those 7 things kids need to be successful in the business world and be productive citizens.

I think technology is a wonderful thing that needs to be in the schools. Computers, SMART Boards are just the start of where technology will go in the schools. I'm not sure how someone could argue that they shouldn't be in education or in classrooms. If you've ever used a SMART Board in class, you would never want to "deprive" your students of learning with it. I do agree with Beth that to encourage resistant teachers, we need to be make it easier, not one more thing to add to their plate. I think collaboration is huge!

csteede said...

Our systems have been static for decades, so I’m not sure about the date they are seeing as the beginning of the ‘future’. How true! Reinvest in the schools? Or reinvent the wheel? Let's see, "Dufour", "40 developmental assets, you get the picture.

I feel that it is time that the ones with the complaints get involved within the schools and take some of the responsibility for preparing the students for the future.---businesses/community Hillary Clinton said and wrote it best, "It takes a village to raise a child." How are these "online" and "virtual" schools beating the No Child Left Behind and why don't we know why? The community/nation talks about GLOBAL competition. Then maybe they need to be the ones to collaborate with schools and show the how and why and how it applies in the work place while working with the teachers. If you want the schools to be "flat" (familiar with "The world is flat"book?) in technology, then the businesses/community needs to re-evaluate their role in the education system. We can't keep adding to the teacher's plates, but we can begin to involve more community LEADERS and ASK for their input and collaboration WITHIN the classroom so they too have a better understanding of how to teach 17-25 students at one time. I do believe we have some resistance among teachers to integrate technolog. But is that do to so much change or "re-invention of the wheel" and that they aren't given time to breathe...or learn the "new" stuff? Are we giving the teachers the necessary resources and time as a district to be innovative with the use of technology and preparing students for the it time for them to move on? I think everything always goes back to quality not quanity. But I'm not sure how you do that when the government is involved in a national level. I wonder what it would be like to be involved at a global level? YIKES

ZooAcademy said...

I feel like writing the same first paragragh as I started the last blog with.
The education machine is so big and still has a lot of teachers that are pre computer. Maybe they are afraid they will loose ownership of what they do or even jobs?
I see it and have faced the fact that students are evolving as fast as technology.Stunning that we are witnessing this, imagine the future:-)

jfrevert said...

I agree with Beth's comment about the importance of blending technology with current teaching practices being a vital part of every classroom. In my building (IDEAL), I don't see teachers who are reluctant to incorporate technology; I see a place where technology is not readily available. Until just recently, we had incredibly outdated equipment. Just this fall, we finally received updated teacher computers and our students finally have modern computers on which to work.

We do not have even one SMART Board, and we share two projectors amongst eight teachers. We've had requests for repairs not being answered for weeks. All of these things make it easier to "just do it the old way." Because of the population we serve, I also worry about our students' lack of access to technology at home. Some of our families don't even have telephones. I worked for another district that provided all students with a laptop EXCEPT the alternative students. Practices like that do not even the playing field.

I would like to see our buildings become community technology centers for their respective neighborhoods. By opening up the use of our technology to students, parents, and constituents outside of the regular school day, we give ourselves the chance to promote support of requests for more funding to support technology.

Of course, all of my suggestions and complaints fall back on one major issue: lack of funds. With the current economic status, I do not hold out much hope for receiving additional funding anytime soon!

Sandy Science said...

About a year ago, I went to NASA's Kennedy Space Center for training in Aerospace. I learned that over 50% of the employees will be retiring in the next ten years.
There is an urgency to train young people to go into the fields of science and engineering. There was a feeling that the current students are not performing at the level of engineers in the last two decades.
When asked what the number one quality NASA wants in their employees, we were told that students need to be able to get along with others. The second was to be able to communicate. If they have these two skills they can be trained to do anything.
In order to compete at the level needed by top engineering companies, students will be expected to be comfortable with technology. In order to compete in a global society, teachers must use any means possible to encourage students to learn. Technology is one way to achieve this goal.

Elizabeth said...

Technology is no longer something we can say people will need in the future, it is the present. One of my biggest fears is that in the next five to ten years, I will be one of the teachers that doesn't know how to use the lastest and most modern technology pieces in the classroom.

I think it is imparitive that we use technology in the classroom and teach students how to use it. There is only so much information that we can obtain from a text book and teaching students to use internet resources will help them broaden their knowledge and expose them to information that I couldn't have imagined when I was in fifth grade.

I agree with Kali when she talks about the online college classes. The social and collaborative work students get while in a school setting teaches students things they would not get if they were at home doing on-line classes.

Kali said...

Like Elizabeth said, there is only so much we can get from a textbook, and these days, they are outdated SO fast! When textbooks are so expensive it's hard to update quickly. I also agree that the technology has to be available (and working!). Students are not scared of it and I learn so much just from watching my students work on the computers or SMART Boards.

J Allen said...

To Beth and Elizabeth's points about teachers not using or falling behind technology...what happened to use being life long learners? Everyone who took this class understands what a true life long learner is. YOU LEARN YOUR WHOLE LIFE!! It highly frustrates me (did I communicate that with the previous sentence?) when teachers say, "I don't know how." What do you tell your kids when they say, "I don't know how?" "OK Johnny, don't worry about it." In my job, I model technology use as much as possible because I want more teachers to understand the benefits and options for technology use to make their lives easier and lessons more engaging. To me, a teacher who doesn't use technology in their classroom on a regular basis (which doesn't mean every stinkin' minute of the day, contrary to what some may think of me) is modeling to their students that there is not a lot of importance in technology. Many teachers are not readying their students for jobs of will they succeed tomorrow?

Brenda said...

I didn't get as much out of this article. I feel like I keep hearing the same thing. Yes, it is important for us to integrate technology in order to prepare our students for the future. The one thing that stood out was that it doesn't have to be all about technology. I think there needs to be a balance. Students also need to learn to communicate face to face. I will continue to encourage the teachers I work with to use technology. It's not easy to get them to understand that technology is not intended to be one more thing to learn; but rather that it should make what they do easier. Josh, I agree with what you said about being life long some this apparently doesn't apply to technology. We have to do what is best for our students to prepare them for the future.

jkimball said...

I agree with Brenda that there has to be a balance in our schools. I can't imagine a setting where all schoolwork and learning took place online, as mentioned in the article (Florida virtual high school). How will you convince me these students, upon completion of high school, will be "well-rounded" individuals? How have they learned to work with others to solve problems? When do they have the opportunity to interact with classmates and get comfortable speaking in front of a group of people?

I think there is a place for online schooling in our system, but it doesn't have to be all or none.

Jana said...

I agree with Jesse. I think there has to be a balance when teaching with technology. I know that there is so much pressure on teachers for students to pass tests. The article talks about the online high school and the students are achieving high test scores. However, school is much more than tests and curriculum. In school students are learning more skills than just what is on a test. I guess I am a little "old school" when it comes to education. I think that there are ways to integrate technology into our teaching without completely loosing the classroom experience. If we move so much into the "future" then I am afraid that we are loosing a great opportunity to teach an interact with students.

jody said...

This article discussed the evolution of schools and their need for change in a very general way. To me it seemed vague and too much of a one-note approach. Don't schools, and goals of education need to focus on more than the integration of technology.
I thoroughly enjoy the addition of web-searches/ educational web-sites/ my beloved smartboard etc. in my classroom. But - that isn't what changes what is taught - simply how it is taught. I realize that the two go hand-in-hand, but I seem to struggle with how to bring all of these amazing ideas and resources to my students AND THEN how to use them to their best advantage. This is a huge question for me.

Lindsey said...

Although I think that the idea of a completely virtual school setting, as in Florida Virtual High School, is completely ridiculous, I still feel that technology needs to be integrated more and more as it becomes more available and usable in our classrooms.
I was just about to write that schools that are completely online deprive students of many, if not all, of the seven skills for survival discussed in the previous article, but now that i think about it, online classes and technology can also enhance and provide more oppotunities for students to use and develop these skills. I believe that we do need actual human interaction to learn, but the addition of technology can only make it more beneficial for students.
By using technology, students are able to collaborate with people all over the world. They can have online discussions through blogs and instant messaging with people from many backgrounds. By doing this, students will get a broader understanding of points of view and gain new ideas about what they are learning.
I agree with many others that posted that we need to prepare students for the future and not just for standardized tests, but as many teachers "get lost" in the ever changing technology, how will they know what types of things they need to prepare students for in the future if we don't have standardized tests to guide them. Teachers must stay current in the world of changing technology if they want to be able to connect with and engage students, as well as promote and provide the best learning that is available to our students.
I agree that if we say that we are lifelong learners that technology is becoming more and more a part of that learning. We cannot fall behind when there are so many ways to stay caught up!

Anonymous said...

At the high school level, teachers must use technology to motivate students and help keep them interested in the learning process. I visited a small school in central Nebraska and in an English classroom was a 60" plasma TV that the teacher used to teach his class as well as several other classes across the state. They use distance learning and teacher to share expertise and ideas. They were also able to that technology to connect to instructors at colleges for AP classes and other special instruction. I see this as a learning tool of the future, or as someone said, now is the future for technology. I thought it was a great article.

Kathy Adams

Anonymous said...

Yes, we need to use technology in the classroom. I am behind but taking the class to remedy that (and also know that one class will not be enough, but will send me in the right direction) . The administration is also pushing for teachers to be proficient. However, man times I feel overwhelmed and lack the time that I need to spend to become good at using tech resources. The time that we get for instruction in technology is usually on an inservice days and then so many things at one time!! Also, the presentations are usually for those who more accomplished.

B. Cole