Moving to the Do: Opinion

Okay, we get it.
Thank you all of the pundits, the speakers, the motivators.
We all need to move to getting kids into the 21st century learning arena. We need to have them collaborate. We need to make them communicate. We know. We know. Thank you. Now shut up and change the message.

The time has come to move from telling to showing. No one is a doubter. No one is saying don?t. Do you know of any teacher that thinks kids should not know how to communicate? Collaborate? Cooperate? Any administrators? No, none are out there.

So to all of the gurus of ed tech, the time has come to change the message. The time has come to start showing teacher the HOW instead of the WHY.

And, in the spirit of practicing what we preach, the time has come to start giving teachers individualized education plans on exactly what they need to do.

No more telling us that the time has come for us to move on. We are moving on. We just need to be shown how.

We have been telling teachers for ever now that the web and all the associated technology

I started to understand that the message needs to change when my district got a grant on tech integration. We purchased equipment as well as professional development on tech integration and how to use the power of Web 2.0 to make learning more meaningful.

I think that the equipment and the training on the equipment was the easiest part. Everyone understands what a computer can do. Everyone understands what a camera can do, or a voice recorder, or a camcorder.

The hardest part has been showing how to USE the equipment and not make the assumptions that everyone understands. Teachers, for the most part are game to trying out how to integrate technology in the classroom. And, most teachers I think, are game on how to try almost anything, as long as they can see the need.

With that in mind, I have begun to shift strategies a bit from the theoretical ?21st Century Classroom? here is why you SHOULD do something, to more of a here is exactly how you do something. For instance, it is one thing to say ?You need to add technology to this lesson.? It is quite another thing to say ?Here is how you add technology to a lesson.? Honeycutt addressed this famously in his talk about moving dioramas from Popsicle sticks and Elmer?s glue to Google Sketch Up. But really, there is not a lot of EXAMPLES out there that address exactly what teachers need to do. The reason for that is that each district has, at a granular level, very specific lessons. But I think that the ?nationally known speakers? could adjust their message because there are some types of lessons that are common to all. For instance, almost every student has to write some type of research paper. Can that be moved into a 21st century lesson by becoming a podcast? What is the process? How do teachers do that? Show us specifics, not generalities.

I have started going around my schools taking pictures of student work. Take a look at this one for example, where the students had to write a short report about an author, then do a drawing:

I think that this was about a 3rd or 4th grade assignment. The students wrote something about the author and then had to make their own book cover.

Okay, it was an okay assignment, but what if the teacher said to the kids ?Instead of writing your report, you are going to write and then RECORD your report. We will then post your work online for anyone to listen to.

So, how does that change the assignment? It does not, The students still have to write, they still have to research the author, and they still had to read the book. The only difference is that they are moving the assignment to the 21st century by allowing others to share in what they have learned.

I know that this is a very simple example, but it is an example that teachers HAVE to be shown in order for them to conceptualize how to move form 20th to 21st century skills.

Show me exactly how this is done.
Don?t give me theoretical. Give me exactly how this assignment is done.

Make an IEP for me.

Move to the DO, not the Why.


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This entry was published on May 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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