It occurred to me as I was listening to David yesterday that not only is this the first time in a long time (maybe ever) that we don’t have a real clear picture of what your kids’ futures look like (from a professional standpoint), this may also be the first time in history that our kids bring serious knowledge to the classroom that their teachers don’t have. And I mean that on a couple of levels.
First, from a technology standpoint, there is no question that most (not all) kids are more comfortable and facile with computers and the Read/Write tools than most (not all) teachers are. What that sets up is an opportunity for teachers to let their students teach, not only the teacher but each other as well.
Second, one of the most significant changes in the classroom today is the fact that teachers (or schools) no longer know most (not all) of the relevant sources of information for the topics that they teach. Think about it…when I was in high school, I doubt that I used too many sources for my research and my work that my teachers didn’t have knowledge of or at least had a clear understanding of. Today, that’s no longer the case. I hear teachers all the time relate the fact that they are “scrambling” to keep up with both the types of sources and the sources themselves that their students are using. Again, I think this is an opportunity for teachers to learn from their students in some meaningful ways.
What this means is that we need to start looking at our students more as resources instead of recepticles. We need to be able to let go of some of those traditional roles and, as David so rightly said yesterday, focus more on teaching and showing students how to manage their own learning. We need to push our kids to go beyond our curriculum and help us expand our classrooms because, let’s face it, they can now.