I wait for the day where students ask, “What have you learned?” and not “What did you get?
We don’t go on as we are. We address the problems of tomorrow not with today’s tools but with the tools of tomorrow. This is what we call progress.
On Friday, I got a chance to sit down with a group of teachers and administrators who have their eyes on the future. We are all in the development of the Futures Forum Project, which is a pilot project that we are bringing to the WRDSB.
There are many things at play at these discussions. A few of my reflections:
1. Any time the idea of technology in the classroom is bandied about, I feel that the razzle dazzle of the technology sometimes overwhelms. This happens in two ways; either we think we are being innovative when we are really doing the same thing we’ve always done but put a new flashier cover on it; or when we worry about teaching the tech skill over the real life skill. These problems came up many times throughout the discussion. How then can we take this opportunity to create the “classroom of the future” (although in the future their shouldn’t be a classroom)?
2. I think this is an opportunity to tear down the walls. Totally. Too many times we were reminded about the politics at play. We need to be successful (whatever that means?) so we can scale it. We need to ensure we can maintain status quo in every other grade, so we can’t go too outside the box (despite agreeing that the box is limiting opportunities to learn). We choose education over learning (structures like periods, bells, attendance, etc is not being considered as an element to the classroom of the future).
3. It is great to be in a room where teachers are actively looking to get better. All involved, regardless of how far they are ready to push, each person in the room wants to get better and see students learn better. Love to be part of that group.
4. The idea of power came up often. Who has the power in the classroom? Who should have it? Who should decide what we do? How we do it? What does a functioning, effective classroom look like? Are teachers really ready to give up power in the class?
5. I am ready to fail. I posted before that I am afraid this will be successful and I will be seen as a puppet. I don’t think that is my fear anymore. On Friday while listening I heard many people express their ideas of success and fear of failing. While reading, The Talent Code, I recognize that I am ready to fail. I’m even ready to fail BIG. That’s sometimes what it takes and I’m ready to have my name associated with a major failure, especially if that brings us closer to a real answer.
6. I got more paper handouts at this session then I’ve used in all my classes so far this year. I’ve e-mailed everyone involved to see if we can change this, but for a project leaning towards the future with everyone technologically savvy how is this not a priority and the first thought?
7. Product is emphasized over process. Because we are so caught up in the idea of evaluation and marks, we plan the product students are to produce without planning, explicitly, the process of teaching. This is going to require much thought as to how this will be achieved.
The project is now well on its way and the time is clicking by, ever so quickly. I am excited, energized and processing loads of ideas after this meeting. Here’s hoping we keep pushing the boundaries and make something truly revolutionary happen.
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