Education is changing.
In many history classes throughout the country the Industrial Revolution is a topic that is discussed by students. The Industrial Revolution was a time period of extreme change in technology and how ordinary people lived in American and throughout world.
While teaching the Industrial Revolution I always found it helpful to discuss the revolution that we are all currently living through today, the Information Revolution. The Information Revolution, much like the Industrial, also concerns the rapid development of technologies (computer chip and processor). But what is unique is that computers, and the internet, has allowed for the rapid processing and distribution of information. Also, the Information Revolution has also allowed for a rapid decline in the price of information, as well as the tools that can capture that information.
Whew....that was a mouthful (can you tell I was a history teacher), but here is the better question...how has the Information Revolution changed education and how can technology aid in that process?
I'll share an analogy....imagine that someone that was born in 1890 were alive today. Imagine all of the pieces of technology that would blow them away. They would not be able to comprehend. It makes me think of the scene in Captain America. The scene where Steve Rogers, Captain America, escapes his hidden of circa 1943, and then he escapes and he is suddenly in Times Square after being found and thawed. What would Teddy Roosevelt think if he saw a person walking down the street with a smartphone coupled with a blue tooth earpiece. The concept of what a cellphone would be and what that cellphone would be able to do would be unimaginable for Mr. Rough Rider. Technology has changed and our historic hero's would have a hard time understanding tech innovation.
But what if that same person walked into a school or a classroom? Would they know how to behave? Would they feel comfortable? I would guess that for some classrooms that answer would be...yes. Sit in rows...be quiet...the teacher is the expert. Check this out.
Gone are the days of kids in rows listening silently to the teacher.
Gone are the days in which the teacher is only a content expert.
Gone are the days where we can sit silently and quietly while we wait for initiatives to pass.
Gone are the days in which we allow our students to fall behind, leaving us without the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
Many teachers already know these concepts, but there is a divide in philosophy, pedagogy, and practice. Accountability is at an all time high in public education, and while that may make some feel uneasy, it will hopefully lead to better results for our students.
Education today is about supporting and guiding students in the acquisition of life skills. Yes, they need content...no arguing that, but they need to be able to read, write, and have the critical thinking skills to survive in today's ever changing society. The model of the teacher always in front of the room does not work in today's rapidly changing world. Like other parts of our society we must innovate and change the way we think about education.
Teachers should be leaders in their professional field. Innovators, creators, and willing to push our students not to know the most content, but to apply the best skill and content.
But wait a minute technology guy...you haven't even mentioned technology yet.
Technology is partial to me. I am a gadget geek... particularly Apple products It has just always interested me, and let's me honest, Apple has taken a lot of my money!
Technology is not a silver bullet...it is not a cure all...it will not solve all of the problems of education, but it is a crucial part of the world that teacher and students live in today. It is our duty to provide leadership in our classrooms that will transform learning for our students. Technology is a key piece of the equation. Teachers, high quality lessons, and appropriate infusion of technology into our classes and curriculum can provide our students with the education they deserve.
Insert the iPad. The iPad is a transformational piece of technology. It allows for creation, collaboration, and consumption of educational materials It is a piece of technology that can redefine what your students are able to do within your classrooms. iPads give your students technology access to allow for my project/inquiry/challenge based education. Does it have limitations? Sure, most technology does...but remember, the most important part of our students education is not an iPad...its teachers!
The iPad is a creation and consumption device. It will open the doors of learning to the world for your students in a way that has never happened before. But, it may require you to "think different". Especially about some traditional ways of teaching.
Education is changing. Are you ready?