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Reaction to ~ Dream School: Independence Project

http://www.21stcenturycollaborative.com/2011/04/dream-school/ ” 

The Evolution of the Teacher
As teachers and educators, we have to shift from doing things TO students and instead create a dynamic learning environment where students take ownership of their own learning and pursue it passionately. In a connected world, with the Internet and powerful digital technologies literally at our fingertips, we would be foolish not to integrate those things into the learning experience. But when I talk about the shift, I am not talking primarily about changing the tools we use. I’m talking about transforming the way most teachers teach today – either because they were taught to teach that way or because the accountability system makes them believe they have to teach that way.”   Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

I have not been able to stop thinking about this article and video.  It is exactly what school should be like.  Students should be generating their own learning and content.  If we provide them with the skills to ask good questions, open ended questions that will lead them to deep and higher order thinking, learning, and more questioning, then we are giving them tools for their future.  I want to provide this experience for all students.  I want teachers to be coaches, co-learners, facilitators, mentors, co-creators of knowledge, partners, and ultimately colleagues of students.

This concept seems to me to be a fluid education with an important ebbing and flowing of ideas and questions.  Where ideas and thoughts, learning and teaching, investigating and creating, designing and collaborating swirl together blending together and becoming something new, like paint colors whose non-edges fuse into a slightly or boldly new color. Within those fused colors, fused ideas, shattered conventions, passions will grow and flourish.  So too will knowledge be created and refined.

As students begin to explore new thoughts and concepts because they find tangential ideas, opinions, and theories lightly intersecting those being explored, they will be designing their own learning and being exposed to some dissonance in their own cognition. Perhaps their level of thinking will be raised to ever higher ones.  Wrestling with diverse thinking and experiences is an important step in the learning process.  By discovering relational ideas and concepts, students will need to figure out what skills they might need to explore the new related topic strands. This will cause more learning and soon, very soon, students are hooked on the life-long learning cycle.  Asking their own questions and seeking guidance in how to formulate those questions is what self-motivated, intrinsically driven learning is all about.  

How do we shift an educational system so ensconced in the agrarian and industrial ages that it seems locked in granite?  How do we make the necessary changes fast enough to save our students?  I don’t believe the obstacles are insurmountable, but they are certainly formidable.  

Using the current technological social media systems available, I have come to believe there are more than just a few who are working to cause the earthquake needed to shift the thinking and the current system to something far different, far more relevant and rigorous, far more future and student oriented.  If we push hard enough…

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