Last week the Alliance for Excellent Education (which is the inspiration behind Digital Learning Day) asked me to write a blog post for them. If you care to read the entire post go here where I have a number of links to items my students have done this year to highlight my thoughts. But here are the money paragraphs:
One day all of our students will have interactive lessons where the teacher will walk around the room connecting information, helping pupils do their work and making sure that the necessary learning is being done correctly and where appropriate, collaboratively. Classes will be self paced and conclude with interactive assessments that measure students’ ability to find and use online resources to answer probing questions.
Before then we, as teachers, need to remember that the best way to educate students today is not the same way that we learned when we were students. We need to help move teachers away from lecture based assignments, urge them to change their teaching methodology to be one where multiple Internet based devices are acceptable in the classroom and finally how to recreate their classroom to meet the needs of our high technology learners. This will mean assigning easier material at home (flipping the classroom) and having more interactive assignments in the classroom. The focus of the room will change from the front to both increasing individual teacher-student contact as well as increasing interactions between students.
This is just a start. One day we will have algorithms to help drive instruction. My daughter Madison, for example, prefers to learn by video clips on Youtube while my son would rather read the information and figure it out himself. My other daughter Alexandra likes to do all her work in one sitting whereas Madison likes some breaks. Companies like Knewton are working with educators to create customized classes to meet these needs. But it will take more than cutting edge companies. If the FCC can create free bandwidth for everyone, it will positively impact my lower income students. Likewise, as we go to more cloud computing, we will be able to see lower price delivery devices such as the Chromebook which will mean that students will be able to bring their own laptop/tablet devices to school (as they are already doing with their smartphones) and will not worry about cost or theft.