Is this the year?

2011calendarDear principal or superintendent,

It’s a new school year, and that brings new opportunities…

  • Is this the year that you begin the task of transforming your classrooms into learning spaces that emphasize hands-on inquiry, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving instead of teacher lecture, rote practice, and fact regurgitation?
  • Is this the year that you get powerful digital learning tools into the hands of students – whether they be laptops, netbooks, or maybe iPads – so that they can start learning how to do knowledge work the way that knowledge workers in the real world do?
  • Is this the year that you finally invest some money in better technology integration support for teachers rather than simply buying more stuff?
  • Is this the year that you decide to confront what probably are brutal truths and survey your students in detail about how engaging and interesting their classes are?
  • Is this the year that your teachers pilot a unit or two where they use no textbooks whatsoever (paper or digital) and instead use wikis or social bookmarking tools with their students to co-curate a set of online learning resources that accomplishes the same (or better) learning goals?
  • Is this the year that your school system investigates what it means to effectively communicate these days and learns about how to present information online – hyperlinked/networked writing, online video, infographics, transmedia, etc. – rather than simply writing with ink on paper?
  • Is this the year that you experiment with some online learning in-house and have each teacher design/deliver a unit so that it is done wholly online rather than face-to-face?
  • Is this the year that you go out of your way – via multiple face-to-face, print, and online information channels – to help your parents and community understand what it really means to do effective workforce preparation these days?
  • Is this the year that you allow your students to give you input into how their own technological skills and interests can be better utilized in their learning environments?
  • Is this the year that you realize that other organizations are using social media to great effect to communicate with the people that they serve and that maybe you could too?
  • And so on…

Is this the year for you? If not, who’s going to do it if you don’t?

Image credit: Make your own planner

[Feel free to add your own in the comments area!]

5 Responses to “Is this the year?”

  1. This is the year for us! We are not able to do ALL the things you mention, but we are doing many of them this year more than last. I’m so excited to be part of education at such a time as this.

  2. Exactly! Administrators are the stakeholders charged to lead this change in thinking, ideology, and opportunity. But we can’t lead it if we don’t get it. If we all read beyond the lines here, one of the better questions is “What digital-age skills, dispositions, and essential understandings do administrators need to implement these new opportunities?” Perhaps this year should be one of #edtech development too!

  3. Mr. McLeaod,
    I was glad to read your comment. You made some very valid points. Especially, when talking about technology in the classroom. More schools should invest more money in technology. Technology is a great thing! I will definitely try and use the latest technology in my classroom one day.

  4. Is this the year when PLNs and edcamp type professional development are valued and exploited as a way to celebrate those teachers who are being risk takers with technology every day?

    Thanks for a great list of ideas…here’s to hoping that every school implements at least one this year!

  5. Is this the year that MCPS changes its 15+ year old policy on Internet use by students and staff that does not allow the use of blogs, wikis or other tools because they are not contained within the MCPS firewall? I tweeted your blog post and challenge to ask our new superintendent of schools, @mcpssuper Dr. Joshua Starr. Let’s see if he responds…I have high hopes!

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