Being a student today is a much different experience than most adults experienced. As educators, we have to realize that today’s students need an experience that empowers them. What students don’t need is to have information shoveled into their heads, instead, they need to learn to create and optimize the tools they have to make a difference in the world.
Technology now allows all of us to be global learners and social change agents. The walls of our classrooms are now a physical barrier that we can overcome. As we talk about the need to help students develop core values, our students can learn about how those values make a global impact.
For example, I recently discussed with a group of teachers the impact that Skype can have in a classroom. Skype is very simple to use but allows students to connect with others across the globe. I’ve worked with a teacher who facilitated a discussion among students in Texas with students in Brasil. What a powerful experience for her students.
Our community is still rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. I’m now part of a Facebook group created to send books to our campus, I’ve seen and taken part in Flipgrid videos that are created to uplift our students in this very difficult time. The outpouring of love from those around the world to help our students has emphasized how technology can be used to empower others to make a positive difference in the world.
I recently had a discussion with a colleague about our views on the ever-changing role of schools in our community. Our original university education programs didn’t prepare us for the evolution of the new school.
Like most careers, research and advancements in technology have taken us to new and exciting heights in the understanding of the child and how best to serve them in classrooms. Using the classroom as a way to empower students to see themselves as agents of change makes the classroom relevant, years after the lesson has been taught.