A New School Year Begins!

Tomorrow marks the start of a new school year. My job title might have changed but the focus remains the same. How do we prepare student for today’s digital world?

I had a chance last week to introduce myself to the high school staff. It happened to be right after a discussion on cell phones in the classroom. A discussion that our new Dean of Students Dennis Harter gave loud and clear. Tell kids to turn them off, or use them for learning.

During his introduction to the high school I counted no less than three cell phones going off. Teachers who hate having students with their cell phones on in class, are not willing to turn theirs off when they are the students….why?….because we feel a need to be connected. So I introduced myself to the staff by simple asking. How many of you actually turned off your phones before entering the meeting today? I had about 10 hands go up. 10 out of 100 teachers, about the same amount of students who don’t bring it to class.

I then simple smiled and said, “You have to love the connected world we live in.”

This past week as teacher’s prepared for students to come tomorrow I spent my time helping some move to our new cultural center buiding, and others just getting connected. I had e-mails that stated the following:

– My SmartBoard isn’t working and I need it by Monday

– My computer won’t connect to the Internet and I need resources by Monday

– My projector’s bulb needs replacing, can I have that by Monday?

and my personal favorite

– Please have my Internet connected by Monday I can’t teach without it.

You see we live in connected times. Teachers rely on technology to teach, yet when students enter our classes we expect them to put their’s away to learn. We don’t, and I know, we’re different……right?

Yes…..if the technology is a distraction it needs to be put away. Same goes for teaching! But when used appropriately it opens up opportunities to teaching and learning that only this generation has ever had access to. If we feel we cannot teach without a computer, and the Interent, why do we feel our kids can learn without it?

Every student should have access to a computer and the Internet, just like they have access to a pencil and paper. It’s 2010 and it’s time we start realizing that access to content has changed, connections are key, and creation of new ideas is the future.

I believe Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google summed up our new world perfectly last week:

We create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.

That’s the world we enter as we start the 2010-2011 school year. Now tell me things aren’t different.

Here’s to another school year and preparing students for their future!

3 Comments

  1. Great post-I love how you flip this idea on its head!

  2. It’s going to be a full on year! I’ll be thinking of you down here in the ES while you’re up in the HS. Let’s remember to meet in the middle regularly & physically touch base!
    I know that you are only a push of a button away as I can connect with you online & you gotta love that in a school that’s as big as ours.

  3. I love how this post was written two years ago and yet we still have not grasped onto the idea of a technological classroom. Yes we are slowly working there as teachers are using more and more technology, however, in some of my college classes I am not allowed to have my laptop to take NOTES because too many people have goofed off and the professor banned them altogether.

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