Sunday, February 19, 2012

Will we have students in the future?

I recently came across an article detailing how we will live and work in the future. And, for some, how we are currently  living and working.  The subtitle of this article, and really what this movement is about is "The Future of Living where you Work and Working where you Live." The fascinating notion in this article is not the fact that it suggests 'America is changing how it works.' I believe most people in America know this. However, the fascination for me as an educator and a school leader, lies in the details suggesting that the direction we are headed as an American society and culture is that of living and working at home. Here is where all stakeholders in public education come in... WE HAVE TO WAKE UP! We must no longer continue to teach antiquated methods of the 20th century, but rather we must adapt to the 21st century... And adapt NOW! I have spoken to about a half dozen former students of mine in the last six months who have decided, to finish up their high school diploma online. And, these students live in the most successful school district (and most affluent) in the State of TN. The kicker is these are average to above average students... Not drop outs. Moreover, when I ask them if this is a change to homeschooling, they quickly say, "no! I am just going to get my education on my own, because I can." One said to me, "it is much better than __________ High School." That last comment hurt. I have had this conversation with a parent present during three of these conversations and the parents completely support it. If parents are working from home more and more, than this trend can only increase. One has to look no further than Dan Brown's "Open Letter to Educators" to see why this is REALLY happening and if our schools do not become more relevant NOW, we will continue to lose students.  What do you think? What are your thoughts? Here is the article...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Hey you, Teacher in front of the room!"

"Hey you, Teacher in front of the room!" I want to use my mobile technology. Why can't I use it? I am allowed to use it every other moment of the day outside of school. Of course, I know you are afraid to let me use it. All adults seem afraid to let me use it. Are you afraid I will abuse it? Are you afraid I will not use it appropriately? You know what: you are probably correct. I will more than likely not use it for the right reasons and purposes. But, then again, I have never been taught how to use my smartphone, my tablet, my laptop for school purposes... for learning purposes. Will you teach me? My parents will not teach me because they do not understand it. All my other teachers, principals, and people in charge of my school district will not teach me because they are afraid they will lose control. They have not told me that... But, I think this has to be the case. Otherwise, they would allow me to communicate with you in a 21st century way. Why wouldnt they? Don't they want me and you to communicate? I have heard that I should learn how to work well with others... communicate with others. Would not my mobile technology help with this? I think it would. But, hey... I get it. So many other students have "proven" they cannot handle this. I know my classmates text during class... just look at them when their hands are in their hoodie pockets. It is actually not that hard. I need you to know, however, that I do not think anyone is wanting to escape the work or ONLY socialize with friends during school. It is just that we are told to not use these valuable tools and I am really not sure why. I don't see why not if my parents are able to use these devices. I think I even see you and my other teachers use them. All I want is for you to teach me your expectations. After all, that is what I need... To be taught. I was taught how to use my calculator APPROPRIATELY (to not spell words upside down with numbers... How immature). I was taught how to use my scissors (I should not run with them... I know, I know). I was even taught that I should use my paper for taking notes, writing, drawing, etc. (it is not to be folded into paper airplanes and thrown at you). I guess, I am just hoping for a shot. Please, teach me. I heard my future boss really wants me to be able to use my mobile devices to be productive, communicate with her, and also communicate with my colleagues and clients. Please, help!