Reflect on how different this world is from 10 years ago - before smart phone / tablet technology. Or how different the world is from 20 years ago with the eruption of the World Wide Web; or 30 years ago with the personal (consumer) computer revolution. How we communicate, learn from and with each other, collaborate, research, shop, aggregate, curate, discern… almost everything is very different. We cannot expect to teach as we were taught.
Granted, there is considerable disparity between schools, school systems and segments of societies. Most classrooms, most days are not significantly different today than they were 40 years ago, especially with regard to what the students are doing. At educational conferences, we see great examples of modern learning activities, but there is that nagging feeling that this only represents a small group of students and often only for a week or two out of the entire year.
My essential question after attending the tech conferences is:
How do we enhance education in a systemic fashion, and sustainable fashion?
Earlier this year, a good friend and fellow ADE Lucy Gray published an About.com article: Tips for Educational Technology Coaches that provided some great suggestions about pursuing excellence as a Technology Leader in the local school.
For me this article triggered a question:
Do education policy makers recognize just how important a Technology Specialist, Technology Integrator, or Technology Innovation Coach is at the local school level?
Here is a list of my summary comments:
- The idea that learning occurs on a schedule, in a standardized fashion for all students is ill informed.
- The legitimacy of using a single test given one time and one time only is not a legitimate way to grade instruction nor the instructor.
Even though this article reports on education in Norway, we have seen similar policies in the good old U.S. of A. We have often said that student success has a high correlation with stable, healthy home environments and supportive, educated parents. So the big question is can (or should) teachers be held responsible or accountable for parent learning or educational involvement?
The Denmark regulation states: The school and now will: facilitate cooperation with the home and ensure that parents / guardians share responsibility in schools. Good teachers should already be doing that. The concern is when it becomes law and must be documented, assessed and enforced.
A notice came from friend today:
After years of effort the Florida Legislature has passed landmark legislation allowing traditional textbook dollars to be used for innovation and technology in the classroom! Tremendous thanks go to the hundreds and hundreds of supporters in and beyond the Sunshine State to make this happen. However, the legislation won't become law unless Florida Governor Charlie Crist approves it, and that remains uncertain at best.
THE CLOCK IS TICKING! We have until Friday, May 14 to make the case to Gov. Crist, so act now on behalf of students everywhere who will reap the benefits of this landmark bill.”
I am sure than many who read this blog already realize this, but for many decades, the textbook industry has fought furiously through their lobbyists to maintain their exclusive budget line in the state education budgets of the nation. Our world has changed tremendously since the internet revolution began just over 16 years ago... it it time that our classrooms changed as well.
I am proud that a friend, State Senator Thad Altman from Melbourne, Florida introduced this bill. Now it is our turn to let the governor know how important this is!
Please consider emailing our governor in support of this bill, we need his signature!
Send to: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com
The Honorable Charlie Crist
Governor, State of Florida
PL05 The Capitol
400 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Here is the letter I sent:
Dear Governor Crist,
I am a native Floridian and a career educator (28 years) in Florida's public schools and private college system. I have been nationally recognized as an educator several times and enjoy the privilege of traveling around our nation providing professional development for educators when I am not in the classroom in Melbourne, FL.
First I want to thank you for your veto of the SB6 last month. It was very gratifying see our state governor was willing to apply common sense to a very complicated issue. I was glad to hear that you recognized that there is a real problem, but the solution is not as simple as that bill made it seem.
Now I would like to call on you to provide school systems with the flexibility to move on to keep up the modern world with respect to learning tools. For years, our state and others, have been held financially hostage to state textbook adoption budgets, purchasing books that were outdated the day they were printed. With changes brought on largely by computer technology, our world is changing in many respects faster than new textbooks can be authored, typeset and printed, much less adopted, purchased, shipped and distributed.
I wouldn't suggest that textbooks are obsolete, or that there is no place for printed resources in our schools, but they no longer are the only way or always the best way to communicate and teach our children. eBooks can be instantly updated over the internet and they can contain multimedia such as 3D objects and movies as well as interactive exercises and self-grading quizzes and tests.
The fact is our schools have often felt obligated to purchase books that were really not needed since the previous adoption was in good shape. They felt obligated to purchase books because if they didn't, they would lose that money that was solely budgeted for textbook purchases. This is poor stewardship.
Please give your approval to CS/HB 5101which contains a proposal that will allow districts the flexibility to spend a portion of their educational materials budget to purchase technology for delivering digital content for classroom instruction.
This legislation will help establish Florida as a progressive, forward-thinking, fiscally responsible state that recognizes that the world is changing– and the way that we prepare our students for their future is changing as well.