The words of Dennis Richards haunted me over the weekend. Not haunt as in Ichabod Crane, but more haunt as in Pay Attention to your own message, you moron. And no, Dennis would never call me a moron - he's far too tactful. What he did tell me, however, is that we (as teachers) don't always get what we want - rather, it's best to focus on what we need. He also shared with me a few of the things that his district is doing to move forward.
Instead of originally heeding his advice, however, I hesitantly admit that I have worried more about maintaining status quo than in actually doing what's best for the kids. I guess it's just too easy to be lulled into TTWWADI: "That's the way we've always done it!"
After being told over and over that the technology department in our district is merely considered an "add-on" to other departments, I actually started to believe it myself. And that, in spite of David Jakes' emphasis that technology, at this point of the game, is no longer something that is integrated into our teaching but rather integral to both our teaching and to our students' learning. As Karl Fisch has stated, it's not like these technologies (like wireless networking) are a luxury anymore. In all sincerity, our students need us (as teachers) to use technology in our teaching because their century demands it.
Thank you Dennis, David, and Karl, for leading the way. Yes, technology is integral. Yes, our century demands it. Yes, our students need it. And you know, if I'm not the one that attempts to change our schools for the better, who will?
In response to these voices I've been hearing in my head, I've added an important question to the needs assessment that I created for schools last week:
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills identifies the following traits as the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master in order to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.I then list each of the fifteen skills identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and provide a way for teachers to rate how well they address each skill.
Please rate how well YOUR CURRICULUM addresses such skills.
I now think that this question actually forms the keystone of my survey. While I still want to know what the teachers I teach actually want to learn, it's also critical that I ascertain how well they are addressing the needs of their students.
If teachers aren't teaching what students need to learn, then all that we've done is for naught.
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