We need to prepare kids for today and tomorrow, not yesterday.
As Eric Hoffer said, “In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Yet, too often our schools are set up for adults, not for the students. In fact, we typically ban the digital tools that engage kids and they use for their learning outside of schools. It is time for adults to listen to our kids and leverage the technologies they have (mobile devices, for example) for learning.
We must focus on learning…and that means bridging formal and informal.
Too often we think that learning = education. We narrowly define learning as the time spent in class. In fact, learning happens both in and outside formal classrooms, and increasingly mobile technologies enable us to bridge those environments. Educators should partner with libraries, museums, national parks and other informal learning setting and use technology to create engaging, self-paced learning environments that leverage the passions of kids.
There are exciting new ways to personalize learning and engage kids—if we leverage formative data and provide feedback to the learner.
What is a high performing learning environment? Look no further than the online game that your kid is “playing.” Rather than teaching to the average, the game moves kids as fast as they can master the content. That is precisely the kind of learning environment we should have in our classrooms—one as good as the most compelling and fun game, but one that has learning at the core. How do we get there? By providing constant feedback and formative data to the learner so we can move to faster and deeper learning.
Educators need to be less isolated and more part of a community of practice…one that is available 24x7.
Educators—be they teachers or principals—do not spend much of their professional day with their colleagues. In fact, the practice of education is typically done in isolation and behind closed doors. Yet, there are new ways to use online communities of practice (CoP) to link educational professionals and move towards continuous improvement. School systems should learn from the Online Connected Educators Project www.connectededucators.org supported by US Department of Education to learn best practice around moderating and facilitating a valuable professional resource for your faculty.
Our vision should be Participatory Learning.
Prof. Henry Jenkins argues that over the past 20 years we have moved to a more Participatory Culture where information and expertise is increasingly less hierarchical and society is more participatory. What does that mean for the kind of education we need to prepare for the world? It means that collaboration is increasingly a critical life skill. We must increasingly apply social networking/Web 2.0 tools to enable a much more participatory learning environment.
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.
Keith R. Krueger is CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a nonprofit organization that serves as the voice of K-12 school system technology leaders in North America. CoSN’s mission is empowering educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments.
In 2008 he was selected by eSchool News as one of ten people who have had a profound impact on educational technology over the last decade.
He serves on many Advisory Boards including eSchool News, the Education Committee of the National Park System, the American Productivity Quality Council, the Virtual High School Global Consortium, the Friday Institute at NC State University and the Wireless Reach Advisory Board. He is a past Board Member/Treasurer of the National Coalition on Technology in Education & Training (NCTET).
Keith has a global reputation as a key thought leader and has organized senior level U.S. delegations to visit Australia, Asia, Europe and South America to examine best practice in ICT in education.
As a Certified Association Executive, he has extensive background in nonprofit management and has a Masters from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.