The featured article today is a post by Shelly Wright on how she shifted her classroom from the traditional teacher-centred classroom to an inquiry-driven, project-based, tech-embedded environment. This is what the learning revolution is all about. No doubt there are many innovative educators out there who have been practicing and pushing this kind of education for years, or decades even, and perhaps many who have been frustrated by the lack of progress within the system and within school cultures. Well, the tide finally seems to be changing.
The shift away from teacher-centred lecturing to an approach that engages students, gives them experience with technology, teaches them how to collaborate with one another, allows them to make mistakes, and encourages them to discover and take responsibility for their own education, is an important one. The deep and long term interest in learning that can result and the skills that are learned will carry them much further in today’s world than the old classroom model- it’s difficult to find job advertisements these days that don’t demand strong interpersonal skills, strong communication skills, an ability to work independently and within teams, and computer literacy. It’s not a matter of freeing the teacher of responsibility, it’s about shifting that responsibility toward being a facilitator of learning.
I was particularly interested in the sections on talking to students about their learning and embedding technology in ways that are authentic into the learning process. A couple of days ago I posted a link to an article on Challenging Student Misconceptions About Learning, and this post identifies the same point: learners need to know how and why they learn (and it’s a very interesting topic as well!).
Being literate in information, technology and social media can be a great advantage for students and teachers today, and there needs to be effort to introduce authentic use of technology into the classrooms. It’s not just about keeping up with trends. Technology and social media offer fantastic opportunities for learning in and out of the classroom. This is not to say that I don’t worry about the day when the zombies, monkeys, and/or skynet take over the world and this technology is no longer available to us. God help the computer geek species when that happens!