Greg Bitgood's views on A Vision for 21 century learning, in his recent podcast. I love the fact that I am included in this new vision of Futuristic teachers, even though I am often overwhelmed at how fast the information explosion is happening. Having just watched The Social Network movie, I caught a glimpse of our future generation encapsulated in Mark Zuckerberg's energy, and ability to innovate from his laptop. I liked what one critique of the movie said, "The film comes down to a mesmerizing portrait of a man who in any other age would perhaps be deemed nuts or useless, but in the Internet age has this mental agility to transform an idea into an empire." Not all of us are "Mark Zuckerbergs" or would want to be considering the diabolical and ethical implications Facebook created. Yet the Internet is allowing for such amazing creativity and innovation, that I think we will see many such "wonderkids", in the next generation (not only in the field of computer applications, but in many areas of life).
How blessed we are to be given the gift of homeschooling, where we can engage our students in life giving subjects that embrace the whole child in learning, exploring gifts digitally to match with their strengths and weaknesses. Is it not amazing how technology has helped in the area of reading, with sites that teach phonetic skills, spelling tricks, reading comprehension, speed reading? With writing we can now blog, find writing extensions, applications, online novel studies , creative story tools, and share at such a rate that it is mind boggling to imagine. In math we can incorporate video content, learn how to rewind and watch a lesson again, play with math tools and learn how to be cool math kids. With Physical education we can now play sports or learn dances virtually using Wii games.
In science and building the applications out there are too many to list, (from streamed labs to educational games), each enabling students to find their niche and contribute in a multi-sensory and interactive way. Some schools have entered this new world with virtual classrooms. My son would LOVE this:) So I guess I need to listen and follow his gifts.... Help?
As a parent and educator I know there can be stumbling blocks in wanting to take on this new and challenging 21 century learning. Will our kids know more than us? Are we entering the age of being facilitators as opposed to teachers. How do we let them loose, when we don't know where they are going? Boundaries and frameworks need to be explored and discussed. We need a new Bible for the computer age:)
As teachers we need to be encouraging our students to become media literate, so that they can read online with skills that can critique authority on the web. We can help our students by taking them to sites and comparing what makes a site authoritive, relevent and academic.We can also role model by becoming bloggers, and sharing how to create a personal learning network. I will discuss this in my next posting.
I do think God is wiring our kids' brains differently…so they can cope with all of these new and different technologies. We can relax and learn with them, pray and ask for advice, and embrace CHANGE. Now I need to practice what I preach and learn a video game with my son, play some educational games with my students, and invite some professional development in my own life. One step at a time!
Blessings to you