Monday, December 18, 2006

Fuel for the Fire

Will Richardson has a post today which reinforces the point I was trying to make yesterday. He quotes the executive summary of a report on the Skills of the American Workforce which says:

“This is a world in which comfort with ideas and abstractions is the passport to a good job, in which creativity and innovation are the key to a good life, in which high levels of education–a very different kind of education than most of us have had–are going to be the only security there is.”"Too often, our testing system rewards students who will be good at routine work, while not providing opportunities for students to display creative and innovative thinking and analysis.”

And I certainly agree with WR when he speculates that "2007 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in the school reform discussion." It's becoming clear that the No Child Left Behind act is a disaster. And it's also becoming clear that technology is changing everything. It always had the potential to change things, but the tools just keep getting better and better.

Yesterday, for example my son walked into the room where I was working on uploading some pictures to Flickr and showed me Google's latest toy, a web-site design program that is, like Google Docs, fast, clean, easy to use, and free. It took my son about fifteen minutes to create a home page that links to all his other web projects. The new Google module is one of a growing collection of tools—along with wikis and whiteboards and blogs and aggregators, not to mention this blog engine and gmail and Google itself—that have the potential to change how we communicate and how we teach.

This fall, the freshman at Punahou will, for the first time, each be arriving in classs with a laptop in hand. A year ago, the individual departments were wracking their brains trying to figure out what we would ask our teachers to DO with those laptops in class each day. For me, at least, that's changed. In the last three or four months alone, I've been swimming in a sea of ideas of the kind that Will Richardson keeps talking about, like the one he references in another of today's posts, where he points us to Pat Aroune's site, where technology is changing the way things work in the classroom.

So yes, it's an exciting time to be a teacher, and 2007 is shaping up to be a big year.

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