How will you start the new year? Will you provide the same learning experience as last year or do you have some new initiatives to experiment with?
Seymour Papert in 1993 was quoted as saying “Nothing is more absurd than an experiment to place computers in classrooms where nothing else has changed”.
Technology has certainly evolved in the proceeding years with the influence of smart phones, interactive software and the connectivity and accessibility of the internet enabling teachers to be more creativity and innovative in the delivery of learning. At their fingertips, teachers are providing blended learning experiences, offering opportunities to both consolidate as well as extending students’ (and their own) learning. Providing a more personalized and targeted learning experience is now being seen as an important strategy for the effective teacher.
There has been many changes to the resources at our fingertips to value add to the learning experience which brings me back to Seymour’s quote. Simply providing new resources, technology will not in itself make sustained improvement in student learning. As George Couros’ recent tweet ponders, is simply placing the latest technology in the classroom innovative practice?
There needs to be a change in pedagogy, the way the teacher delivers the learning. Instructing the same way, doing the same thing, albeit with different resources, will not have the required impact. Simply replacing traditional classroom furniture with contemporary furniture may look different but if the teacher is still standing and delivering content, not much will change for the student. However, the adoption of an inquiry pedagogy with a collaborative expectation, peer to peer engagement and an engaging assessment approach will.
There will be plenty of teachers trying not to reinvent the wheel by utilizing last years units of work. While this is a useful beginning point, how they meet the needs of their new students will be the focus of the effective teacher.
How will you prepare for the new year? What are you going to do differently this year to improve your teaching and make sustained learning gains for your students?