Shoulder to the Grindstone, Nose to the Wheel

Well, my assumption that the intellectual heavy lifting would begin this morning has proved itself correct. We’ve spent a bit of time so far unpacking the P21 Framework- both the “Rainbow” (the skills) and the “Waves” (the underlying support structures). The P21 Framework I’m struck again and again by the similarity (in both process and content) to the Critical Skills Program. From the opening question (What do students need to know and do in the 21st Century?) to the efforts of our facilitators to walk their talk, this is familiar ground for me. Interestingly, though, it’s familiar ground in a new way- sort of what I imagine it would be like to walk through your childhood home, were it loaded on the back of one of those big ol’ tractor trailers and hauled into a totally new part of town. Same, but different.

One provocative piece of the conversation this morning came from Dr. Chris Corallo, Director of Professional Development from Henrico County, VA. His district has made the bold statement that one can’t be considered a good teacher unless one is embedding technology in one’s instruction. My initial response was obviously, “That’s crazy talk. I know lots of great instructors who don’t know a wiki from a walky-talky.” Then I got to thinking and wondering…if our kids are going to live in a digital world, are we serving them well if we don’t model the ways the technology, artfully and intentionally used, can be a powerful tool for getting the job done? I’m not sure, to tell you the truth- but I look forward to taking the conversation on with you when I get home!

My work now (other than trying to stay awake in my post-lunch food coma) is to try to make a graphic alignment between the framework and CS model. As I warned Peter on Friday, this is where I think I’m going to be a bit out of my depth- but I think pushing myself out of my comfort zone will bring me to a new understanding of both CS and P21.

Wish me luck!

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One response to “Shoulder to the Grindstone, Nose to the Wheel

  1. I agree that good teachers embed technology into their classroom. However there are good teachers that don’t embed technology for one or more reason- lack of access to technology, lack of ability or training, lack of time in the school day, lack of funding, lack of a good tech support department, lack of support staff to support the use of technology in the classroom and last but not least, a lack of good technology for a classroom. Not all technology (especially the cheap stuff) is good for use in the classroom. But unfortunately too many schools are putting cheap stuff into schools and in the long run it prevents teachers from integrating it. When a teacher has to spend 20 minutes of a 40 minute block waiting for laptops to start up, update drivers, do software updates,and be troubleshooted, not much student learning takes place in that block. As a result, those teachers avoid integrating the technology and you are back at square one. This is a too common experience with underfunded tech. plans and departments.

    To be effectively integrated, technology use must but be available, supported, kept updated, and well funded. Most importantly, the technology chosen by the school must be easy to use and access for the educator- or else it will rarely be used.

    In my current second and third grade classroom I have access to a mobile Smart Board. Unfortunately the time it takes to track it down, set up the projector, etc. makes it difficult to integrate it throughout the school day. However, in two weeks I am having a Smart Board installed permanently on my wall complete with a projector which will allow me to integrate it into my morning meetings, math message, language arts lessons, as well as science and social studies. While it used to take me 10-15 minutes of prep time to set up the Smart Board, it will soon take me less than 1 minutes to set up. Ease of set up and use is one of the major cruxes of integrating technology in any classroom.

    John

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