The world has changed rapidly over the past 10 years with the rapid growth of technology and the changes in the world’s economy. A shift from a more traditional teaching style to one that incorporates the use of technology is not only recommended but is vital for our students. The skills that our students need to acquire to be productive members of the work force include:
• Problem-solving involving the use of technology
• Communication skills and teamwork
• Innovative thinking
Challenges from school districts that have budget restraints and communities torn between the traditional and new are prevalent; how will schools keep abreast of the new technological tools and find money for the upkeep of schools and equipment? That will be an on-going discussion for the next few years – funding and our future.
In order for our students to adapt to the changing world, teaching has to take into account the effects of technology on the Net Generation. How can the digital lifestyles of our young be incorporated into the classroom? Teachers need to guide the students on how to explore, research, and utilize information using technology tools responsibly. The move from memorizing facts for testing to accessing, analyzing, creating, and communicating information with technology is a major part of this move.What do Net Generation students want in their learning environment?
Authentic/meaningful learning experiences
Use of technology to assist in problem-solving and innovation
How will this change the classrooms?
Shift from imparting knowledge to helping students to finding information that is credible
Shift from textbooks and worksheets to project-based learning
Shift in assessing outcomes in different ways
How will we help our students to become better students as well as better citizens?
By having students work collaboratively and model how to be flexible and adaptable
Guide students in time management to complete projects, manage workloads, learn to prioritize, learn to plan and implement
Help them to learn to work with others who have different opinions and have varied cultures
Assist students in purporting themselves in a respectful, professional manner
I made many connections while reading this book to my present work with the Curriculum and Technology Office of our school district. We have worked diligently over the past three years to research technology tools and how it can be used to compliment the curriculum in all grades. Last spring, our Language Arts Committee voted to purchase leveled books for grades K-5 instead of textbooks. The leveled books that were primarily non-fiction selections in math, science, and social studies will be used for guided reading as well as resources for projects.
The committee also purchased MP3 players to be used in the classroom for various purposes. We are now in the process of converting a lot of our media to digit files. I am helping training teachers on how to convert files to MP3 files, storing the files, and using the MP3 players in various ways in the classroom.
Our high school has also introduced a class called Geometry in the Classroom. Students are using geometry in the process of building a small house. As the Assessment Coordinator of our school district, I will help in gathering data, analyze, and compare the results with the more traditional Geometry classes.
In order for me to better assist the classroom teachers as the Reading Specialist; I will also need to keep abreast of technology advances as well as how they are being used in education so that I can be a coach for those who seek help.
As part of my professional development, I recently created a Share Point. I am exploring the use of wikis and blogs within the Share Point and will be working with middle school and high school teachers in ways in which this can become part of their classroom instruction.
In conclusion, our students already know how to use various technology tools but education needs to help guide them in how to use technology ethically and responsibly. Our classrooms will need to change in order to differentiate instruction and help students meet individual goals by offering more meaningful projects where they can work in teams to problem-solve, communicate effectively, explore innovations, use time management, and lastly to not give up but to keep striving for success in this ever-changing world.