classroom 21 century learning

From Dark to Light! Part I

‘Cautiously Optimistic’ – For years I ridiculed this ludicrous phrase contending that it really had no meaning in the world of authentic language and yet here I am reflecting… And using this nonsensical phrase to describe my own feelings..

About 6 months ago, TCDSB rolled out a program like none other of its kind to grade 7 teachers and their students across the city.  Each grade 7 teacher was to receive a new laptop and each cohort was to receive a mobile cart, projector, wireless networks and 10 netbooks.
This rollout effectively took the TCDSB from the dark ages of technology to the forefront of its integration into the classroom. Lucky enough to be a contributor to this rollout, I was privy to the throes of this project’s developments and challenges, slowly causing me to become… cautiously optimistic!

Stay tuned for more as I share the challenges and successes of this incredible project.

Sorry to tell you – change won’t occur without planning…

Commit to the Plan!

Educators attempting to build an effective lesson often subscribe to the belief that the three-part lesson is the key to a successful day. Although the research has not been compiled as to what makes a lesson successful when it comes to the integration of technology ,there is a practice that is commonly overlooked by most educators.

Whether a teacher is tenured or straight out of a pre-service program, there seems to be a common failure to plan for a successful lesson. Incredibly, the quintessential practice itself – planning – is more than often overlooked when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom in a sustainable wayI can personally guarantee that planning for the integration of technology is NOT taught in colleges, universities and most, if not all, AQ courses provided across the country.

The classical arguement upheld by many educators surrounding the effectiveness or lack thereof of technology is difficult to disprove when educators refuse to formally make it a part of their plans. In this context, it is impossible to amass critical data regarding the effectiveness of technology in education.  Don’t get me wrong here – we already know that there is an inherent need for technology, but until data begins to support the obvious, it is difficult to navigate the ocean liner that is education on the sea of progress.

We often tiptoe around the idea behind creating a plan because of the professional courtesy that our roles purvey. However , if change is to be sustained the plan is an integral part of that change, that progress and most importantly its sustainability.

All new endeavours usually require a blueprint so it is mind-boggling to fathom why changes in education would not require the same. The plan does not just act as a guideline for the lesson but also acts as a silent contract between the educator and his or her students, a commitment to the change that is needed now more than ever before.