Originally posted on Convent of the Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog:
By Jaime Sarrio
Check out the classroom of the future, Bill Gates’ style: Students are grouped according to skill set. One cluster huddles around a computer terminal, playing an educational game or working on a simulator. Another works with a human teacher getting direct instruction, while another gets a digital lesson delivered from their teacher’s avatar.
This kind of “game-based” learning is one of the priorities of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Microsoft creator.
Last year, the foundation announced it would invest $20 million in a variety of teacher tools, including this and other technologies geared toward changing the way teachers teach and kids learn.
Gates sat down with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week while he was in town speaking at an education conference.
The billionaire philanthropist said there are lessons to be learned from the enthusiasm kids have when playing video…
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What is your teaching technique? What type of skills do you bring to the table that helps inspire, entertain, and enlighten students for the future? Is it bringing prior knowledge of the students and linking it to the content? If so, how? Is it relating the material to the student personally? If so, how? These are all things that I wonder what other teachers are doing in the classroom. What new techniques are being used to help assist teachers in the classroom? What types of traditional techniques are still being used because they simply work? I wonder?
I post this question what it means to be a teacher because I think in this day and age we really don’t have an understanding of what a teacher is.
My answer is linked to the Teacher blog http://teachersocrates.wordpress.com/
We need to break away from the agrarian model and industrialized structured educational system. We all learn differently and need to create multi-faceted approaches to meet the needs of a diverse population. I think Sir Ken Thompson brings forth a few good ideas.
This video was found on Laughter Brothers Blog.
As an educator I notice we are at a pivotal point with education. If we look where we are at right now we are standing on an archaic path. The direction we are facing takes us down a traditional road that leads to an agrarian foundation of education. This one size fits all format only takes us back to the 19th century ideology. We must redirect and take the higher road where it’s more sophisticated and multi-faceted. Choosing this redirected path we shatter the traditional brick and mortar schools, printed books, and agrarian school calendar. This 21st century road to success embraces educational access from any location, digital books, and with access to broad band information it will extend the number of school days. An idea is coming into light that is pointing us to this 21st century format that takes on educating our future generations for global competition. The idea of Transformation School creates competition, cooperation, and cost effectiveness within a local community. I see the discussion and hopefully the early stages of this idea in my local city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Competition drives us to break out of our skin of mediocrity and forces us to strive for greater things that are bigger than our own selves. Why not have this in a district setting. Why not have schools within a district compete for funding and students to see who comes out ahead. This idea purges the weak and focuses on the strong schools, teachers, and administrators that will strive for the success of the students. For this to ensure a school board or governing body of a district must give schools autonomy. From there it is up to those schools within the district to set the foundation of their own accomplishment. The ones that fail to meet the needs of the students and parents will be eliminated and the student body will be absorbed into the following successful schools. Of course any field of competition must establish a fair and evenhanded outline of rules to determine how schools are high-performing and low-performing. National, state governments and educational think tanks are starting to create this outline of rules that will help evaluated the different schools competing for resources. A system like this creates innovation to help attract students and families and establish a culture of triumph.
In the past decade or so new public schools have surfaced. These charter schools are publicly funded schools in poor performing urban areas. I have been a member of a charter school in the Cleveland area. I experienced that charter schools needed to be creative to draw students away from the traditional public schools. New techniques use by these charter schools to help become successful is digital learning, higher core standards, and more time on classroom instruction. These innovations can be helpful in a public school setting. Why not allow high performing charter schools and high performing public schools collaborate on what is working for them. A public school might have a creative cross curriculum that is working in their setting and a charter school might have a technological approach that extends learning time. By combing both ideas will help set the stage for the needed 21st century success. It is possible to have a dualistic approach by organizing competition with cooperation among high performing schools. I have worked for both a charter school and public school setting. I have seen things work in a charter school, like technology and longer learning periods, which will work in a public school setting. I have enjoyed seeing success in community building in a public school setting that will work well in a charter school.
Giving schools in local district autonomy helps slim down the bureaucracy of a school board. The operation of managing staffing, basic operations and budgeting is all done by the schools. Having schools handle their own operations helps eliminate a step that they must go through to get anything done. By having autonomy a school can bypass getting the board’s approval and this helps stimulate a rapid results for the school within the district. Its basic economics when you eliminate a step it helps generate more revenue. The major function of the board is to oversee performance of the schools. Why have staffing at the Board office to facilitate an operation that can be handled right at the school.
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