3 considerations for transforming classrooms

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What is the greatest challenge schools face using technology for teaching and learning? As a practitioner, the data I’ve collected both formally and informally suggests one of the greatest challenges is to use  technology in ways that transform the teaching and learning process (as defined by the SAMR model). It is often easy for students to use technology in ways that enhance the learning process. For example, using presentation software to create a final product or using online software to develop specific content area skills (such as math). It is often more challenging for teachers to design learning that is transformational, where technology is embedded in the process of inquiry for learners to connect and collaborate with other curious minds inside and outside of the classroom.

While technology can be a catalyst for change, merely placing digital devices in the hands of teachers and students will not bring about transformation to teaching and learning. We need more than devices. We need new thinking that combines proven practice grounded in the learning sciences with current technology tools and the leadership to support transformation.

Just before the holiday break, I had the opportunity to speak to a gathering of about 30 Keystone Technology Innovators/Integrators at Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit. In the presentation, I proposed 3 ways educators can take action to move classrooms away from the culture depicted in the video The Testing Camera and toward the culture of inquiry depicted in the video A Question, Waiting to be AnsweredYes…every school likely has pockets of transformation. The challenge to overcome is transforming learning on a systemic level.

The 3 considerations I proposed:

  • Inquiry – We have to fundamentally change the model from a push model of knowledge acquisition to one where student curiosity is a central focus and learning is a process.
  • Social media – We have to use the tools at our fingertips that will allow our learners to engage with a world of like-minded inquirers. Social media coupled with inquiry is very powerful.
  • Leadership – We educators need to take action. We need to stop talking and start doing. We need to be leaders in our schools.

Developing an understanding of effective pedagogy coupled with new technology and taking action to implement our new learning in the classroom will propel us toward transforming our classrooms system wide. For the presentation, I opened with a brief set of slides:

 

And then provided more resources and a few activities around the 3 considerations, working from this Google doc:

 

How are you working to transform your classrooms? Is there anything you would add to the 3 considerations? What are you doing to lead the change?

 

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3 comments on “3 considerations for transforming classrooms

  1. Randy, thanks for a very though-provoking post. I think there are many factors/variables that get in the way of beginning and/or perpetuating this type of transformation. However, your suggestion to “take action as teachers” is probably the most powerful in terms of directly affecting students. Even those of us who do try to utilize technology to it’s fullest sometimes become mired in what administration won’t allow(i.e. firewalls, content blocking, etc.). However – and I am guilty as charged – blaming city hall often results in a more restrictive, reactionary outcome. Like in politics, grass roots change is often the best strategy. It is difficult when presented with success, to deny it’s existence. Sometimes the policy makers just need a peek at what can be in order to embrace the possibilities. And, as the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”! One concluding thought related to easing/supporting this transformation: It would be very helpful to create within an organization/school system an atmosphere that provides more acceptance for and opportunities for teachers across disciplines to collaborate on projects that infuse technology. Our school systems are so time/schedule oriented. In my position, I find that to be a big barrier to collaboration. Again, thanks for this post. I will be checking out the linked resources! Happy New Year and, of course, Rock On! Charlie

  2. Pingback: Twitteracy, Literacy and Generation Z – a few more presentations | Working at the edge

  3. I appreciate your thought on more collaborative time for teachers. I agree, we have not been good at making that a priority. We expect it, but don’t do the best job of supporting it. Thanks for the thoughtful response, as always!

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