Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Project Tomorrow 2010, Digitally-Rich Learning Experiences, and Future Teachers

Firstly, I will link the article I am blogging about: here

Secondly, I will speak on the article, here:

I am mostly concerned about the third main point on "Digitally-rich learning experiences," where students, " see the use of relevancy-based digital tools, content, and resources as a key to driving learning productivity, not just about engaging students in learning." When I began reading this section of the article, I expected information about what digital tools we can use in the classroom to increase productivity. However, instead I read about the current perspectives on which tools belong in the classroom from district administrators, principals, teachers, and aspiring teachers (me!).
The main point of my "Essential Element" was that the perspectives in all four groups were leaning more and more towards acceptance of digital tools in the classroom.

However, there are also significant problems that arise from the drive to include the digital world in learning. One problem the section details is the disconnect between tools that are currently being used in classes and what future students are being taught to use in the classroom. But fixing the problem isn't as simple as changing the curriculum in schools of education. Perhaps it would be better to train future teachers in the tools that will be used when they finally get their own classrooms, and not what is currently used. For example, aspiring teachers are being taught to use podcasts and video in their classrooms (39%) while only 24% of current teachers report using podcasts or video in their classrooms. So the question is this: is it better to divert the focus of aspiring teachers from using podcasts and video to tools that current teachers find useful (such as teaching aides or software) or to stay the course with the prediction that digital video will be a bigger part of future classrooms?

I was particularly pleased that this section focused largely on contrasting the current classroom with the future classroom, and how aspiring teachers are being prepared, as well as what aspiring teachers desire in their digital classrooms. On page 14, current teachers list their preferred source of classroom content comes from other teachers. In other words, teachers will make charts, videos, and readings for their classrooms and will then share these aids with other teachers. At first this seems an archaic system. Teachers take overhead transparencies and copy them for a colleague. They make photocopies full of artifacts and faded writing and hand them out to students, whose attention is divided between completing the assignment and deciphering the words. But there is value in the art of sharing and collaboration, and the internet has proven itself time and time again as environment that is all about sharing. I imagine that the future classroom will take shared content above and beyond what currently happens through photocopies and word of mouth. I imagine separate classrooms around the country interacting through the same digital teacher-created assignments. I imagine that the digital classroom can streamline and improve tried-and-true methods that current teachers practice, and will more actively engage students in lessons that have been tailored to them.


  1. Hi Nate,

    I think that the new technological advances are going to be wonderful tools for the children in schools. I am excited to learn more ways to teach children the millions of things that they need to know.

    The conrast between past and future schools is so interesting. I think that the overhead projectors and photocopied worksheets are completely out-dated. Even though I am a firm believer that children do need to work on their writing skills and their mathmatic skills using a pencil and paper, I do believe that there are many advantages to using technology in the classroom.

    I do feel that future teachers should be taught about the latest technology in class instead of leaning the simple types of technology that teachers are not even using anymore. I would love to learn more about technology (not that I know too much).

    I feel as though teachers need to be able to use all of these technologies effectively in their classrooms instead of just as something to pass the time. The teachers should be taught this in school to prevent the waist of time that would be spent on teaching all teachers about this technology after they have been teaching for years. How do you think teachers should incorporate this new technology effectively?

  2. Nate,
    I found your opinion to be refreshing and to the point. It seems so obvious, why not prepare teachers for their future classrooms. If we know they are changing and are on the rise for using technology, then why not prepare now? It could be a disadvantage for future teachers to fins work without experience and knowledge in technology, nobody wants to think that they are being set up for failure. Future teachers should be ahead of the game utilizing and practicing with technological tools now.
    Though technology maybe beneficial, the personal touch of a teacher I hope will never be lost. Teachers are there to guide their students, to learn and attend to the needs of their students. If the future puts a student behind an electronic device, will it still be as personal?