I read a great article today on the Education Week website. It was produced by a former teacher and consultant on 21st century teaching and learning, named Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. She made some great points, but basically it really shouldn’t have to be said. All the evidence is laid out in front of us…for us to change.
“Fortunately, teachers are beginning to resist the forces that encourage isolation and unproductive schoolhouse competition. Through virtual exchanges and the building of personal learning networks, teachers are increasingly drawing on external communities that promote connection and knowledge-sharing. Some of these virtual networks develop into powerful learning communities that connect the ideas of educators from around the world as they explore together and push traditional education boundaries.” (Nussbaum-Beach, 2009)
It’s interesting to look back and reflect on what this would have been like if I grew up with technological learning communities. I did not. The closest thing I had was the MLTI Laptop initiative, approved by past Maine Governor Angus King. That was great and I am glad it is still in effect.
With connecting endless ideas, especially with people from around the world, wouldn’t that provoke more questions from students? Wouldn’t the students also get a great chance to learn about multi-cultural diversity? It’s all at their fingertips. At the end of the article, Nussbaum-Beach says, “We have to awaken ourselves collaboratively, and the Web is just the tool we need to do it.” I think she is absolutely correct. There needs to be more professional educators “on board” or at least simply recognizing the benefits and risks of todays educational workplace. This article was great to me because Nussbaum-Beach illuminated the certain reasons why Instructional Practice is a dying breed and that change needs to happen. She was very convincing, using quotes from current teachers.
What do you think? How do you think the current system is working?