Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Who's Working Too Hard?

When you look at the title of this Blog, the thing most consider when pondering the question is the element of time.  Technology is coming too fast…I don’t have the time to put in to stay up with it…I am so busy with my job, my family, and my outside responsibilities, that I simply don’t have the time to put into keeping up with technology. Besides, technology is changing too fast, and I can’t keep up...IT'S TOO HARD!
We are working too HARD. We put in a lot of time doing the step by step instruction, and our students spend too much time as passive learners. What if we flipped how we approach our lesson development? What if we spend time in PLN’s (Professional Learning Networks) developing learning paths for our students based on the resources that they can access.
What if we spent majority of our time guiding them in the development of the Career and College Skills that they will need to function? What would our lessons look like if we spent time in these areas?
Our students are about to enter the fast paced 21st Century world.  We need to spend our time teaching them how to operate successfully in that world.  It’s not that we’re too slow or that technology is too fast…it’s a matter of focusing on good reflective teaching and let time manage itself for us.

Here are four areas where we need to make sure students have the tools to be able to operate in that environment:
Research & Information Fluency*:  In the 21st Century classroom, students find, navigate through, and evaluate large amounts of information. Teachers provide guided and independent research opportunities for students to make informed decisions and create products.

Communication & Collaboration*: In a 21st Century classroom, students communicate and collaborate effectively to reach a common goal or create a product.  The teacher utilizes a variety of communication methods, structures student interaction in groups, and engages students in collaborative projects.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving*:  Students will apply knowledge and skills in practical ways to solve real world problems. The teacher provides the activities, experiences, and feedback needed for students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Creativity & Innovation*:  In the 21st Century classroom, students develop original ideas and create products by applying critical thinking, research methods, communication tools, and collaborative processes. Teachers provide experiences that allow students to create unique ideas and products. 
The ideal target for us as teachers is to stimulate the students to be able to do their own research, to work together, to think critically, and to “reach outside the box” as an innovative learner.  The Technology will keep coming fast, but most of it is so intuitive, that you will be able to embrace it and keep up.

If we are able to get a handle on these ideals, we will have the time, and it won't be so hard.  We can explore new technology…but more importantly, we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our concentrated and purposeful labor. 

Sources: * Advanced Learning Partnerships
Contributors to this post:  Keith Brown and Marva Wilks

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