Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Are You an Evangelist for 21st Century Learning?

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." We are not sure who first said this, but we agree it makes sense.

We are guilty of this in education. Our calendar is based upon the agrarian cycle of the 1700's, and our secondary school structure is based on the industrial model of the 1800's. The students sit in the desks facing and listening to the teacher for nine months. And if they follow this process and all the rules for 13 straight years, the students get a high school diploma. The length of the days remains the same. The length of the year remains the same. Then some reformers decide that taking some time from this process for some more testing or spreading salary dollars around will make the difference.

But now in the year 2012, we stand at the opportunity for a new era to begin. We can retain what has been largely successful over the years and apply the power of modern technology to change what is happening in our classrooms on a daily basis. Students can use technology tools to connect to resources around the world. They can seek out their own knowledge and guide their own discovery. We need only to create the student-centered instructional model and give our students the technology tools to realize this vision for our future, focusing on the 21st Century skills of critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.

Among my concerns, the readers of this blog will likely be the people I communicate with regularly and who see this vision for a better future. But now we need to take this message main stream. Are you an evangelist for this movement?

Some call my dear friend and colleague John Carver (@johnccarver) an evangelist because he is out front leading the call. We, the people who "get it" and are reading this message, need to get the word out. Make this vision part of our professional discussion when we have meetings. Take the time to attend the seminars and read the resources on the networks. Connect with your colleagues. Bring back what you learn and pass on this concept you believe in.

This is no longer a separate add-on to education. This is the future. Be a part of the change we seek for our children.

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