Schools Have Changed - It's A Work in Progress
Many of us had traditional school experiences with key characteristics. Some of those are:
- the teacher was the center of the education experience from all perspectives;
- students sat in desks (maybe tables) in rows facing the front of the room;
- multiple textbooks; binders/paper/pens/pencils;
- chalk and chalkboards that the teacher used;
- media included projectors (8M), VCRs, overhead transparencies;
- scheduled visits to the school library for special projects and research;
- expectation of ‘quiet/silence’ in classrooms and hallways;
- lock step class times and schedule;
- minimal personal contact student to teacher and vice versa;
- students’ one to two week wait times for test results;
- curriculum/content was ‘covered’ in spite of not knowing students’ progress and skill development.
What a difference several decades makes! From this cat bird’s seat, we recognize that a lot has changed in our schools. Many of those shifts are the result of responding to the changing learner profile and the emergence of contemporary resources including tools such as computers.
The most dramatic shifts have yet to take hold. Having the student at the center and having the teachers’ expertise as facilitating, personalizing the learning experience – creating self-directed learners. Effectively using and creating digital content that allows students to move at their own pace and receive quick feedback on their progress are needed. Anytime, anywhere, anyway learning is becoming more prevalent and should become the standard not the exception. The latter being enabled through personal, portable technologies. Dramatic partnerships among schools, businesses, higher learning organizations and other community outlets will create reciprocal benefits for all involved. The silo approach has proven to be untenable if our goal is a robust citizenry and workforce.