Our classrooms require a better window on the world than this… ((Han, Churl. “My classroom in Frieze.” Churl’s Photostream. N.p., 29 Jan 2006. Web. 8 Apr 2010.
I frequently receive comments and e-mails from readers expressing their agreement with something I’ve written or said. And then they lament the realities. “But, I have only one working computer in my classroom.” “But, interactive white boards are a pipe dream for us.” “But, Internet is too slow and/or too filtered for practical use.” ..or “We’ve been told to stop using technology or any supplemental materials after March and use only materials designed specifically around test prep.
We are not working under these conditions because of our zip code or because of some unavoidably cyclical function of our reality. These constraints do not happen like weather patterns that we simply have to hunker down and wait out. They happen because of decisions that people make due to greed, misinformation, politico-social agendas, or ignorance.
That we continue to try to prepare children for the future under these conditions is not the problem. The problem is that there are some (many) who still believe that these conditions are good enough.
“What was good enough for me is good enough for ‘your’ children.”
- Dream and decide:
- What you want your classroom to become?
- What kind of access to information you need, in order to facilitate learning?
- What kind of access to information does your classroom need for relevant learning to happen?
- What kind of access to information do your learners personally need to drive their own learning?
- Answer the questions,
- “What will your community’s children be able to learn in this classroom?”
- “What kind of relevant and compelling learning experiences might your community’s children enjoy?”
- Reject any technologies from item 1 that do not directly contribute to item 2.
- Take the answers to item 2 and turn them into a story.
- “Here is the classroom that is possible.”
- “Here is what your children will learn in this classroom.”
- “Here is how they will learn and what they will do with what they learn.”
- “Here is the classroom I want, the classroom your children deserve, the classroom that our future requires.”
- Tell that story. Set up a page on your web site called “My Dream Classroom.” Update it regularly. Share it with other teachers. Share it with your students, your friends, and the parents of your students.
Make its upkeep part of your personal professional development.