Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category
Ninety–five propositions for creating more relevant, more caring schools. There is a growing desire to reexamine education and learning. Educators use the phrase “school 2.0” to think about what schools will look like in the future. Moving beyond a basic examination of using technology for classroom instruction, Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need is a larger discussion of how education, learning, and our physical school spaces can and should change because of the changing nature of our lives brought on by these technologies. Well known for their work in creating Science Leadership Academy (SLA), a technology–rich, collaborative, learner–centric school, founding principal Chris Lehmann and former SLA teacher Zac Chase are uniquely qualified to write about changing how we educate.
The best strategies, they contend, enable networked learning that allows research, creativity, communication, and collaboration to help prepare students to be functional citizens within a modern society. Their model includes discussions of the following key concepts: Technology must be ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible. Classrooms must be learner–centric and use backwards design principles. Good technology can be better than new technology. Teachers must serve as mentors and bring real–world experiences to students. Each section of Building School 2.0 presents a thesis designed to help educators and administrators to examine specific practices in their schools, and to then take their conclusions from theory to practice. Collectively, the theses represent a new vision of school, built off of the best of what has come before us, but with an eye toward a future we cannot fully imagine.
Savonlinna University Practice School is a small elementary and middle school (grades one to nine) near one of the University of Eastern Finland’s campuses. The elementary and middle school is now playing a central role in the university’s educational research and experimentation. The school has specialised in the use of PC tablets in primary school. Kimmo Nyyssönen is the teacher in charge of coordinating these initiatives. The school already has years of experience in the use of tablets and now wants to find out if it can take things to a new level by discarding books altogether. “Tablets have been in use in Finnish schools for a while, but we are the first school to use them extensively in several grades. We are also the first to try leaving traditional school books behind,” he says. They call their new project Future Classroom 2020.
ICT remains abysmally under-used by students and teachers in classrooms, and ICT-enabled student-centred teaching and learning approach finds no ground of pervasiveness within school systems, especially for developing countries. Three obstacles still remain in the way of teachers’ using ICT to its full potential toward enhancing student learning and improving the quality of education: 1) the lack of policy encouragement (especially at the school level), 2) the lack of knowledge on new pedagogy and techniques of integrating ICT in student-centred teaching and learning activities, and 3) the lack of long-standing professional support which further leads to teachers’ lack of confidence.
In response to these, UNESCO Bangkok implemented the “Facilitating Effective ICTPedagogy Integration Project” from January 2010 to March 2013 with the goal of creating an enabling environment that facilitate students’ direct and effective use of ICT for more meaningful and productive learning activities, with a specific focus on project-based tele-collaboration.
What if Steve Jobs had re-invented the education system rather the computer and consumer electronics industry?
Steve Jobs was a contradictory character, combining control freak and Zen Buddhist, and technology with design. He had a revolutionary impact on computing, animation, the music industry, printing, and publishing. Last year he and Bill Gates together expressed surprise at how little impact technology had had on schools. Jobs’s wife is an educational reformer, he was a college dropout; but what would it have been like if Steve Jobs had focussed on education? What would the Jobs School be like?
Last year, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that requires all high school students to take some online classes to graduate, and that the students and their teachers be given laptops or tablets. The idea was to establish Idaho’s schools as a high-tech vanguard.
To help pay for these programs, the state may have to shift tens of millions of dollars away from salaries for teachers and administrators. And the plan envisions a fundamental change in the role of teachers, making them less a lecturer at the front of the room and more of a guide helping students through lessons delivered on computers.
The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.
But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.
Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.
The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.
Students can make use of our extensive video library, practice exercises, and assessments from any computer with access to the web.
- Complete custom self-paced learning tool
- A dynamic system for getting help
- A custom profile, points, and badges to measure progress
Coaches, parents, and teachers have unprecedented visibility into what their students are learning and doing on the Khan Academy.
- Ability to see any student in detail
- A real-time class report for all students
- Better intelligence for doing targeted interventions
Hopes that the internet can improve teaching may at last be bearing fruit.
TheE 12-year-olds filing into Courtney Cadwell’s classroom at Egan Junior High in Los Altos, a leafy suburb of Silicon Valley, each take a white MacBook from a trolley, log on to a website called KhanAcademy.org and begin doing maths exercises. They will not get a lecture from Ms Cadwell, because they have already viewed, at home, various lectures as video clips on KhanAcademy (given by Salman Khan, its founder). And Ms Cadwell, logged in as a “coach”, can see exactly who has watched which. This means that class time is now free for something else: one-on-one instruction by Ms Cadwell, or what used to be known as tutoring.
So Ms Cadwell, in her own web browser, pulls up a dashboard where KhanAcademy’s software presents, through the internet, the data the children are producing at that instant. She can view information for the entire class or any individual pupil. Just then she sees two fields, representing modules, turning from green to red, one for Andrea, the other for Asia. Ms Cadwell sees that Andrea is struggling with exponents, Asia with fractions. “Instead of having to guess where my students have gaps, I can see it, at that moment, and I walk over to that one student,” says Ms Cadwell, as she arrives at Asia’s chair.
Educators say students who use the touch-screen devices for class appear to be more engaged in their studies. Students can view their school work anywhere and eMail their teachers anytime. It seems to be making a difference: Test scores of iPad-using students are climbing.
In order to flourish in ever more digital cultures, young people need to be able to participate in a wide range of critical and creative practices involving technology and media. These practices of ‘digital literacy’ are likely to be important throughout young peoples’ lives as the development of technology and media continues to affect how people work, how they socialise, communicate and spend their leisure time and how they learn and share knowledge.
Digital literacy is therefore coming to the attention of educators as they recognise that not only does the teaching profession have a role in preparing children for a digital world, but that a sustained engagement with technology and media is now integral to the development of knowledge across disciplines and subjects.
This document is the result of a nine-month research project investigating teacher and student experiences of school-based digital literacy interventions. It offers several short case studies which provide an overview of a number of different approaches to fostering students’ digital literacy taken by schools around the country and it offers a thematic analysis of some of the issues involved in developing such approaches.