Breaking Down the Silos in Austin and in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Takes Bold Steps in Education

As a Christa McAuliffe Educator years ago, we wrote and crafted a document that was entitled, ” Teaching ,the Next Frontier”. I returned to New Hampshire and there is leadership for new ways of working That frontier has changed . We learned that we are the change agents that we have been waiting for. We as educators have to create the transformation that will change schools, teaching and learning.

We came together at the New Hampshire Summit: Redefining Educator Development for 21st Century Learners several months ago.

The Past( a Look Back)1992

Here are some of the things we thought as Christa McAuliffe Educators

Teachers are the ones poised on the cusp of the revolution and transformation in school culture. They are in a precarious position from which they are compelled to see themselves and their school through new eyes. It is up to teachers to learn about and use fresh ways of viewing their work in schools so that they can bring into focus what is necessary for them to do to make change.

With the emerging new information and communication technologies (ICTs), the teaching profession is evolving from an emphasis on teacher-centred, lecture-based instruction, to student-centred, interactive learning environments. Designing and implementing successful ICT-enabled teacher education programmes is the key to fundamental, wide-ranging reforms.

Think of
Diversity and Multiculturalism
Teaching and Learning
Systematic Reorganization
Building Coalitions

These things hold true today..

The problem is that most decisions about what goes on take place, not in the classroom , but in boardrooms, in politics, in groups that have an interest in education and most of the soothsayers and keynoters who speak about education probably could not stand for much time in most classrooms. They have a ” sort of” knowledge of the learning landscape.

Currently we have a revolution in education in creating, collaborating, and teaching. Event and collaboratiobs that succeed it will take teachers to the groups that have the resources, the training, the ideas that they need. That includes NCWIT, Concord, ITEST, NSTA, NCTM , National Geographic etc. THe groups will break the silos. I work with a focus group trying to raise awareness and to change the one percent ratio of minorities involved in STEM and the computational sciences.. We believe that the is the shallow end of computational involvement , with teachers needed to be involved and aware. We hope to create a path to areas of interest for teachers and a desire to be engaged, involved, aware.. the seven e’s.

Challenge?

The challenge facing schools is to address the learning needs and expectations of a changing and diverse society. To these ends the teachers , and schools need to consider the following

The need for equity so that all children are treated fairly and with respect.

The role of language so that multiple languae aquisition is seen as beneficial and desirable .

Cultural diversity and implications for pedagogy and school curriculum.

Shifting social structures in the community and in the family and what these realignments signify for schools.

It is so interesting that years later, we are struggling with the same issues nationally and locally. Technology and the digital generation have moved on, but lots of teachers are in the same teaching space. Whose fault is that? Who claims the space? No one. The difficulty is often shrugged off on teachers as the culprit. The finger pointing and press discussion often are that the teacher in the classroom is the problem. The people who write these columns have had little experience in teaching and learning and of the politics within schools and school systems.

Change?

The achievement of systemic change in American Education demands that school improvement efforts be fused with professional development opportunities that lead to self-renewal for teachers.

The focus of teacher professional development in school change must include all conditions and events that affect the learning of students.

Professional development should be a vehicle for changing school cultures so that school is a place for ongoing learning of teachers as well as students.

Teachers must be freed from the one shot inservice training and professional development and be provided sufficient time to engage in meaningful and regular opportunities to expand their professional abilities.

Teachers must have access to resources that enable them to unleash the full potential of all students, respecting at all times the culture, language , gender and individual needs of students. That means for now broadband and tools and support for understanding the use.

So many people tell us where to find resources without understanding that many do not have access to the resources based on lack of bandwidth.

Tools, techniques, Time and Technofluency!! Tpack!!TPCK – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

http://www.tpack.org/tpck/images/tpck/b/b1/Tpack-contexts-small.jpg

With the emerging new information and communication technologies (ICTs), the teaching profession is evolving from an emphasis on teacher-centred, lecture-based instruction, to student-centred, interactive learning environments. Designing and implementing successful ICT-enabled teacher education programmes is the key to fundamental, wide-ranging reforms.

Teacher education institutions are faced with the challenge of preparing a new generation of teachers to effectively use the new technologies that will enable them to educate digital natives for a 21st century knowledge society. However, in spite of some progress, the global landscape is very diverse and unequal and shows that most of the developing and less developed countries still have limited access to such technologies and are therefore unable to reap their full potential to prepare their teachers and learners for a digital age.

Teachers must be given the opportunity and resources to construct curriculum and assessment that are inclusive of and sensitive to all forms of student diversity.

Technology should be recognized as an essential resource that no teacher or learner in America should be denied.Powerful tools, flexible toolkits and ease of use, these are the enablers of innovation. teachers need technofluency and up to date tools.

Teaching and learning occur everywhere, the stale orthodoxy that defines the classroom as the sole place of learning must be abandoned. We must recognize and celebrate learning places and partners.

Teachers and parent as partners in their child’s education with full respect for family structure, language, education level and social status.

Teachers must have professional development opportunities that generate the knowledge and skills to build broadbased community coalitions that create healthy and effective schools.

Real teachers should be a part of the conversations in education.

ACTION PLAN

In New Hampshire recently, this is what happened.
On the evening of May 26th an unprecedented statewide conversation began in New Hampshire among educators, administrators, and teacher educators about the ways in which schools and educator preparation programs should best be transformed to equip children with the skills needed for citizenship, lifelong learning, and economic opportunity in the 21st century.

More than a dozen statewide New Hampshire organizations and 14 institutions of higher education that prepare future educators and their school partners came together to co-host a two and a half day invitational summit on “redefining educator development for 21st century learners.” The summit assisted the state’s colleges and universities to form intensive partnerships with schools committed to transforming K-12 education and educator preparation, to more effectively preparing K-12 students with the skills they need for lifelong learning and economic opportunity and development. Summit participants formed a statewide network of school/university partnerships, to share resources and successful approaches to educational reform.

Most important, summit steering committee chairperson Bob McLaughlin notes, “through the summit we’ll have begun an urgently needed conversation among New Hampshire’s educators, school board members, administrators, legislators, and others about what together we want our schools and educator preparation programs to look like.

Many people talk about how schools and preparation programs need to change dramatically to meet the needs of 21st century students, but there isn’t any consensus about what that really means. The New Hampshire way is to have a statewide conversation about these vitally important issues. Our statewide network of partnerships will work together to show what 21st century instruction, student and teacher assessment, and educator development needs to and can become.”

The New Hampshire conversation about educational change is very timely, for several reasons. First, a number of federal stimulus grant programs are investing billions of dollars nationwide in transformation of school and educator preparation and in intensifying statewide systems for holding schools, educators, and colleges of education accountable for improving K-12 student learning.

Second, with the dramatic increase in online education for K-12 and postsecondary students, educators need to rethink whether and how they too embrace online teaching.

Third, the skills needed for economic opportunity and lifelong learning have changed in the past decade – employers emphasize that today it’s not enough for high school graduates to master the 3 R’s, they also need to be skilled in problem solving, critical thinking, effective oral and written communication, and collaboration.

Fourth, nearly half of the nation’s K-12 teaching work force, born during the Baby Boom, are due to retire in the next decade, requiring that we as a society rethink the role of teachers and how we staff our schools.

The summit was broadcast live as web-based streaming videos during the summit and then archived for viewing you can see it at at http://www.nhsummit.org.

The summit was sponsored by Promethean Corporation, a global leader in interactive whiteboard technology. Several other organizations have made key contributions, including Southern New Hampshire University (donating free use of its excellent meeting facilities and over $5,000 in expanded Internet connectivity so that all summit participants can interact online throughout the summit), and the New Hampshire Foundation for Teaching and Learning, which provided fiscal management. The “ActivClassroom in Motion”, a traveling 21st century classroom, was nationally unveiled at the summit.

For more information, please contact Bob McLaughlin at (603) 509-2728 or robert.mclaughlin@ed.state.nh.us

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