A Shift Will Happen One Way or Another

Fear is a powerful emotion. It is the impetus of all of the “What if…. and What will happen….?” questions that come to the surface when something seemingly new and different is presented. It is what puts teachers into a cold sweat when they are asked to consider trying a new tech tool that could replace or enhance something that they are doing and potentially improve the experience for teacher and students alike. Fear causes teachers to hold on tighter to the illusion of the sense of control they are so conditioned to want and demand, because that is how it was when we all were in school. Fear keeps teachers from really seeing the change that is taking place in our society as a reality and not another phase in the proverbial pendulum of education. Read this opinion about connectedness that gives an interesting perspective on this idea.

I know this because I have been and still am to some degree that teacher. In my first year out of the classroom as a tech integrator, I am able to see the classroom experience from a different perspective. I am the one now who is asking teachers to try something new; to let me show them tools that could make life during the school day more interesting and engaging for their students; to show them that if they give up some “control” and allow students to have more independence and freedom that they can actually meet the needs of more of their students throughout the day. This requires a shift from teachers delivering information and all that is important to teachers facilitating learning by promoting and developing inquiry and thinking skills. A high school teacher writes of her experience with making this shift in her approach to time spent with her students and how this shift is something that she has always known was right for her and her students.

I was a conference this summer and a presenter put a quote on the screen that read, “You think integrating technology is expensive; try irrelavence.” I fear that teachers with very good intentions and who believe strongly in what they are doing are steadily becoming irrelavent by not embracing or at least acknowledging the world in which their students spend so much time.


Re-Thinking Classroom Space

Adele Caemmerer and I presented to about 25 faculty members our ideas about re-thinking our classroom spaces in terms of the space being integral in the education of the students who experience it. We shared information from architects and teachers who have made changes to incorporate what we are now calling 21st Century Learning skills. We asked teachers to sketch their current classroom space and evaluate it based on 4 elements that we presented. Teachers were then asked to sketch their ideal classrooms, considering the space they have to work with. The ideas then began to flow, which we are keeping on a Google Doc so that more creativity, collaboration and communication can take place.
What ideas do you have about rearranging your space to most optimize movement, collaboration, creativity, sharing, and reflection? How does integration of technology fit into your thinking?
School Design
Modern Classrooms

Re-Thinking Our Classroom Space-edt 2 pdf

Mayo Clinic Study on Movement in the classroom 2006

CBS Report on Mayo Clinic Study