As many of you know, I left the University of Chicago (although I still consult on a project at the last unit where I was employed) last June to move to the suburbs of Chicago and begin full-time consulting work. It's been a tremendous year professionally, and yet an incredibly hard one personally with the stress of moving and my mother becoming seriously ill. My work had definitely buoyed me through some tough times and I long for more time to simply digest and reflect on what I've learned this past year. I plan on devoting a longer blog post to this topic in the next few weeks when I have more time.
Before it slips my mind, however, I want to take a moment to pose a question to my readers that was rhetorically asked of me by a high school teacher last week . I gave presentations on social media and global collaboration during my 3 days at this teacher's school, and much of the underlying content focused on 21st century teaching and learning, for lack of a better term. During a lunch conversation one day, this teacher noted (I'm paraphrasing here) that he was concerned that K12 teachers may ramp up their teaching, incorporating best practices in educational technology and beyond, but that our students may hit a wall when they enter college. Are colleges and universities going to rethink and alter their teaching methods? Should they? While I know many higher ed institutions remained rooted in tradition, this question stopped me for a moment as I've been so focused on the K12 education world.
So let's say we infuse 21st century literacies, mindsets and tools into K12 education on a widespread basis, what will happen to higher ed across the board? Will most institutions be forced to change as well? Will students not see college as relevant? Are our universities still going to be considered the best in the world?
It's difficult to generalize here because there is such a variety of colleges and universities out there, but my working premise is that schools that have to compete for students will open up to new ways of teaching and learning; entities that have highly performing students banging down their doors may not feel the pressure to innovate as much. Organizations such as Educause and the New Media Consortium are leading the way with instituions of higher learning, so perhaps higher education is paying more attention than I thought. At any rate, I'm going to start paying closer attention to where higher ed is going with all of this.... please weigh in and share your thoughts in the comments. I'd be very interested in what others have to say on this topic. Thanks!
Wonderful to see how the Shift Happens videos have morphed over the years. Kudos to Scott McLeod and others who have contributed to the various versions. Also, I'm thinking that we need a version like this in Illinois. When are our state leaders going to get it?
For those of my friends who aren't in the field of education, especially those with children, please take time to watch this. The video touches on many ideas that drive the work that I, along with many others, do. Pass this along to your school leaders, and start asking what your district is doing to evolve in the 21st century. If your child's school is remarkably similar to what you experienced as a student, my guess is that difficult conversations need to happen.
This is not about competition entirely... for me, this is about preparing our students sufficiently enough so that they participate in civic life and have choices in order to live their lives fully.
Find my presentation slides and workshop materials here! Social media assets are published now; global presentation ones will follow tomorrow.
Directions for workshop:
During this two hour workshop, we will be exploring social media for classroom and professional development uses. In the afternoon, your team will develop a project or product based on our morning exploreations.
1. Create an Edmodo account (http://edmodo.com) and join this "class" by using the group code m2bco3 when prompted. Virtual participants are welcomed. You can also find the Edmodo app here for the iPhone and for the iPad
2. Divide into small groups and explore each tool for 15 minute intervals. Suggested links are provided. Assignments are posted on our class home page and in each subgroup (see the left hand navigation for these subgroups; you may have to expand the selections).
3. Add your reflections about what you're exploring by submitting an assignment OR by use the Reply link at the end of each section.
4. At the end of our workshop, please indicate which tool you are likely to use for professional development purposes in our poll. In the second poll, indicate which tool you are likely to use in your classroom.