Hey Susan... what you say makes such sense... In theory I couldn't agree more about student's being trusted and encouraged to use mobile devices and social media tools in class... That's the left side of my brain talking... the right side is still fighting the traditional and old methods.. the only methods I have known until taking your class. I'm doing my best to introduce both lobes to each other and trying to have them work in unison! Good to ease my way into the new media and marketing world through your mentoring!
Readers might enjoy taking a look at the videos our science students have produced extolling the virtues--and the 21st-century-learning appropriateness--of the redesigned science spaces at Beaver Country Day School (www.bcdschool.org). The kids reference Sir Ken Robinson and get pretty deeply into why the flexible, clean spaces--which include a big collaboration area, Idea Paint walls, and totally mobile furniture--work for a new approach to learning. Here are some URLS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9_KTf4paC0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01LzOl8m-vA&feature=related (You can find more on the right-side page menu on these YouTube pages.) Beaver is also hooked up with an incredible MIT-originated studio-learning program called NuVu--see www.nuvutsudio.org for the whole story!
A classroom like you described would be a dream come true! Educators like you, who have vision and passion will hopefully become the norm in the world of the teaching profession. It's hard to convince adults who are basically out of touch with modern technology, or see these electronic devices as distracting and only useful for entertainment as a valid learning tool for our young people today. Someone recently blogged, [in regards to these devices] "If you can't beat em, join em!", and I think that with thoughtful, innovative, project-based instruction at the core of school curriculum, it may be possible to do it. Thank you for your insightful and honest post.
So glad you said all of this. I have a 7 yr old son and I have real concerns about the way the education system works. The old style "sit down, shut up and listen" approach sat in rows just doesn't meet how little people learn best. My favourite line of your post is: "This is the kind of classroom I dream about. One that is designed for collaboration, student engagement, and freedom of movement and creativity." Yes. Yes. Yes. As a parent this is what I want too. My hope is that teachers like you and parents like me can find a way to make learning environments a better and more relevant place for our kids. To do that we need to challenge the status quo and outdated practices. I applaud you for calling it as it is.
Here! here! I don't know what it is going to take Sue to finally make the changes in schools that everyone is asking for. However, after watching so many documentaries on why those in power want to keep status quo I can totally understand. I would love nothing more than to be brought into a classroom with a budget and told "fix it!" Let's open a school :D
In my vision, most time spent lecturing is on the lower grades. Once students hav mastered the basics they transition to self-paced learning guided by professionally done checksheets, geared toward ability to apply the knowledge. As opposed to merely passing a test. Teachers graduate to supervisors helping along and making sure anyone stuck gets referred to suitable information or practice to progress on thir checksheet and make he grade.
You might enjoy Whitney Hoffman's new book. I'm not even a teacher and I think her ideas are fascinatining. http://www.amazon.com/Differentiated-Instruction-Book-Lists-J-B/dp/0470952393/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316699490&sr=8-1 Good luck