Food for Thought

Two quotes I recently read have caused me to reflect on my role as a teacher. The first was a twitter post regarding what is taught –

Is the topic/concept essential for the student to know? Is it important? OR Is it just nice?

The second quote is from the Bible and was in today’s devotional and is actually a prayer -“God, make the work of our hands last.” Since we are teaching student who may live for another 60-70 years, maybe we should be praying that what we teach in our classrooms will help our students for the next 60 to 70 years.

I hope I will keep referencing these quotes as I work with students this year.

 

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Transforming Education

Buried in a CJ Online article about Shawnee Heights’ proposed bond issue was a lot of information about how that district is trying to transform education to meet 21st century needs.

This process started with the use of personal learning communities. These groups working together to answer what USD 450 has identified as their 4 guiding questions:

  • What do we want kids to learn?
  • How do we know they learned it?
  • What do you do when they didn’t learn it?
  • What do you do if they already know it coming in?

These guiding questions and the answers to them are also driving the districts technology planning as they look to the future and

  • Implementation of Common Core Standards
  • Project-based student assessments
  • Need for information skills
  • Enabling students to be career ready

Whether you are a member of the Shawnee Height community, another school community in Kansas or even outside of the state, these guiding questions and the future needs are the same.

As Alan Beam, principal of Shawnee Heights High School says,

We’re preparing our kids for their future, not our past.

Becoming Obsolete – Or Not?

With the new year, several blog posts have discussed things that are becoming obsolete due to technological advances. The blog, Things that Became Obsolete in 2010, identifies

  • Bookstores
  • Watches
  • Film
  • VHS Videos
  • CDs

Another post, Things a Baby Born in 2011 Will Never Know goes beyond touchable things to include how we relate with others.

  • Forgotten friends
  • Hiding (not answering phone)
  • Talking to one person at a time
  • Separation between work and home

From an educational perspective, the LangWitches blog looks at classroom management in the blog: What Will Become Obsolete in 2nd Grade? This blog looks at how handheld devices like an iPad or Smartphone and virtualization will affect today’s normal routines in an elementary classroom.

Are all of these things either obsolete or becoming obsolete in the near future? Whether they are or not, these blogs provide food for thought on how technology is changing our lives. The challenge for me is to not hang onto the old but to take the challenge and learn the new.