Monday, October 12, 2009

Imagining Conversations with Former Students

Have you ever bumped into former students and been surprised by what the students remember?

"Hey, I remember you! You taught me how to copy notes from the blackboard!"

"Remember when we did that algebra work, where we all filled in the spaces on that photocopy?!"

"Oh, and that time we read from the text book and answered the questions at the end of the section!"

In reality, these sample recollections are never celebrated. More commonly, the students with these memories are likely to pretend not to notice the teachers in question.

In preparing students for a future so difficult to predict, how is it that such activities still comprise a significant portion of a typical student's day?

The Classroom Matters

This weekend, I came across a The Fun Theory, a post at Mashable, that demonstrates how the environment significantly alters the way participants behave.

I look forward to the day when it will be the norm for classrooms to be arranged for discussion, rather than for teacher presentation. I anticipate the day when teachers regularly connect their learners with those in other classrooms; in other cities; and in other countries. I await the day when students can expect assessment of their learning to include performances that are beyond essays and exams.

If students walk into learning environments designed for interaction; with tools for meaningful collaboration; challenging future citizens to demonstrate their learning in engaging ways, then we will indeed be preparing our charges for a future of lifelong learning.

Though modern tools can be the catalyst to reforming our schools, significant changes to the classroom are beyond hardware & software. Whether or not we leverage emerging technologies, we can amplify the engagement of today's students by creating environments for interaction.

When you cross paths with your present students 10 years hence, how do you anticipate the conversation will begin?
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