Friday, June 11, 2010

How are many of our teachers spending their first day of summer break? Learning about the 21st Century. Cool.

Wednesday was the last day of school for our students. Thursday was the last official work day for our teachers, so they are off to start their summer break. Or, are they?

It was very cool to see nearly 70 teachers who made the decision to spend their first day of summer break participating in ShiftHappens, a professional learning opportunity centered around the topic of twenty-first century learning. I won't get into what 21st Century learning is in in this blog - you can find that in a previous entry.

Instead, I just want to share how powerful it is to hear these teachers reflecting on how our students really are learning differently in this world where technology is so much a part of their life, where accessing information and content is at each of our student's fingertips.

Our teachers are asking, "What does this mean for our instruction? What does this mean for our students? What other skills do students need to be able to navigate this information? What skills do students need to learn effectively today, but also so that they are self-directed learners who can be successful in their future? How do we utiilize technologies to improve learning?"

These are just a few of the questions teachers are talking about today. They also are talking with each other about how they can use technologies such as twitter, blogging, social media... to deeply, and meaningfully, engage their students in learning. They started the day by learning from a national expert, Will Richardson, who provided a streaming keynote.

It is really very cool to listen to the conversations of these teachers - teachers who are reflecting on what they need to learn, and how they need to change their practice, so that they can enhance the learning of their students today, so that their students can succeed in their future.

Not every school district has a group of teachers who choose to take advantage of a learning opportunity like this their first day of break. We do - and I'm thankful to each of them for that.

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