Beginning the PLP Program. What else to do?

The PLP program is starting to happen. I am really looking forward to new opportunities and the widening of the horizons for at least some of our students over the next few months. Over the weekend I was asked again why I thought it was important to be part of the program. It made me think about what sort of environment I want our students to have whilst they are at our school. About what sort of learning I want to take place. About how we preparing our students for their future! The video below, A vision of K-12 students today, put up last year, was intended to inspire and motivate teachers to use technology in engaging ways to help students develop higher level thinking skills. It is a companion to the Kansas University Video A Vision of Students Today .

Some interesting articles I read lately discuss the issues of learning and today’s students. There are many educational blogs, wikis, etc. but are we reaching the whole community when we are discussing the education of today and into the future?

From  Edutopia on May 22nd, Young Minds, Fast Times: The Twenty-First-Century Digital Learner: How tech-obsessed iKids would improve our schools by Marc Prensky. The gist of the article is as follows. In the traditional school, students have little input into the structure and substance of their own education. From my own observation, as well as information from more and more surveys and research, the traditional classroom lecture is creating a lot of boredom in a growing number of students, and this disengagement has often lead to difficult behaviours. This is especially so when compared to the vibrancy of their own media-saturated, tech-driven world. When they are asked their opinions, we often find that they prefer to learn through questions rather than answers, by sharing their opinions, via group projects and working on real-world issues. They prefer teachers who speak with them, not at them, and they want to be treated as part of the learning process rather than as receptacles. It does seem strange, in this era of young people’s empowerment, how little input our students have into their own education and its future.

The Age newspaper published on Sept 1st. an opinion article by Dr. Patricia Edgar, Children of the new universe need a real education revolution. This was a really interesting article that should have sparked some debate, atlaest through some letters. Dr Edgar and her husband will shortly publish a book but in this article she looked at just who this new child is. She discussed families and parenting today and how we might raise children to be intelligent, optimistic and confident of their own abilities, without turning them into self-centered, arrogant little individuals who are concerned only with their own well being. There were many ideas put out there but there was no follow up. The idea of educating parents and surrounding children with smarter adults has not met with any further discussion in the papers. Today another daily paper ran an editorial about teaching, recommending that schools go back to teaching the traditional 3R’s. (I will not even bother to put in the link.)

We have politicians who like to throw away the line 21st century learning but seem to be talking about simply giving students computers, without thinking about the new modes of learning and how best to use them. It seems to be just about using computers to do much the same old things. Does it take too long to really look into learning, especially when they only needs a short media grab? Scaring parents about technology is also a favourite with some politicians and in some media. We must convince the parents about the validity of our educational directions. We need to educate the parents of our students and help them feel comfortable with the new technologies, explaining to them about how the skills are being taught now, that it is the content and the process that may be unfamiliar. The technology is not the end but a means to the end, a way of creating a learning environment that is meaningful, engaging and accessible to many, not just a few who fit the “right” learning style.

So that is the next step. Involving parents. We have run a few parent information evenings and given those who attended some “hands-on” experiences but I think we will need to do more. A new direction I will have to consider and, with my colleagues, work out the best way to approach this area.

One Response

  1. […] { if (vbc) = ‘hidden’; = ‘#fff’ }); }); Beginning the PLP Program. … trackback from post […The PLP program is starting to happen. I am really looking forward to new […]

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