When students write and create documents using Google Drive’s word processing tool teachers can give feedback more easily and effectively, says Jennifer Carey, director of academic technology at the Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, Florida.
As the new school year begins, teachers can change their “stuff,” says Becky Bair. That’s the easy part. But if they haven’t changed their teaching lives to fit the needs of today’s students, then their classrooms will never become places where powerful learning is always going on.
As much as teachers may want to be told what to do with new technology, says principal Matt Renfrew, professional developers can end up limiting potential when they plan for specific outcomes rather than possibilities. Renwick put the conversation ahead of the tools and the enthusiasm was contagious.
As a new book by Kaplan and Owings clearly demonstrates, many schools are mired in an education culture that’s a poor match for the needs of today’s K12 students. They need a culture re-boot – a process explored in detail by the authors and summarized by PLP Voices reviewer Sister Geralyn Schmidt.
“There should be no one prescribed way to help students achieve their goals,” says elementary principal Matt Renwick. “Yet to refuse to learn more about teaching practices that have large amounts of evidence to support their use, and instead stick with what we feel comfortable with, is at best being obstinate and at worst neglectful.”
The days of students reading only books, writing only on paper and becoming literate in an isolated classroom have past, says primary teacher Kathy Cassidy. Even in Grade One, students need to learn new vocabulary, new mediums of communication, and new ways to connect with the world.