In our PLC we are discussing ways to promote learning through project-based digital tools, the Internet, and Web 2.0. So, we ask our teachers, what makes you dance? Is it the school, the environment, the students, the parents, your colleagues, what you teach, what you learn, or something else? At Grace, we have the opportunity to explore new possibilities and challenge our students to become independent thinkers in order for them to become life long learners. As 21st century learners, it is difficult for some us to understand how this "works" in a world that does not yet exist as we know it now.
Maybe some teachers prefer to look at what does not make them dance...is it fear of the unknown, is it not enough time, is it, "I'm too old for this," is it not enough support, is it not enough money, or is it simply, I don't know how? Whatever the reason, it is okay to have uncertainties because the benefit of working in a collaborative environment like Grace with students who want to learn is that, as teachers, we are facilitators of learning and have exceptional colleagues who support us in our own paths. It is our job to provide our students with the tools they need to go out into the world and make a difference. And despite our fears or challenges, we really do use the tools we have available to make learning happen and happen at a higher level.
Kevin Jarett, a technology facilitator in Northfield, New Jersey, said, "Technology is evolving faster than ever before-bringing people together, eliminating barriers, facilitating understanding and knowledge transfer, and improving the world around us with each passing day."
Jarett goes on to say that there's never been a better time to be an educator, according to Diana Fingal, Senior Editor of Learning & Leading with Technology. Then in an another article about HP's Innovations in Education grant program, she quotes Principal Seema Sapru at the Heritage School in Kolkata, India, "The teacher will no longer serve as a disseminator of information via lectures and textbooks. Rather, the teacher will adopt the roles of facilator, tutor, and learner. Similarly, the student will abandon the role of solitary memorizer of facts and principles for the roles of researcher, problem solver, and strategist."
Our students at Grace will do this with their teachers and their peers so that they develop communication and inquiry skills, learn to be flexible, develop an understanding of how the world works, and achieve the feeling that, as individuals, they can do something to change the world.
Knowing that our students will leave Grace with this skillset, what makes you want to dance?