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Building Learners

March 4, 2011
Recently I read an article by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach about 21st Century Education.  Her points provided an interesting reflection on what passes as “school reform” in the current political environment.
She states,
At best, the current thinking about school reform gives only a token nod to the unprecedented access and connectedness that the Internet represents. Most educators are content to simply label this remarkable global portal as “technology”—just another tool. Even those who call for teachers to integrate technology into their daily practice imagine such reforms as incremental rather than transformative.

All of this ignores the shift triggered by web 2.0—a human revolution more profound than the shift from hunting to agriculture or the advent of printing and mass literacy. The emergence of a pervasive, collaborative, global virtual environment has changed forever what it means to be a good teacher, an effective school leader, or a well-educated 18-year-old.

It is a strong statement to say that web 2.0 is more profound that the advent of printing and mass literacy…. and at first, I dismissed this statement.  However, the more I thought about the implication of how “we” interact with each other around the use of the internet – it truly has changed the manner in which we share information and learn.

Our curriculum should provide opportunities for students to build relationships, network, and act collectively. Students should be asked to synthesize information and demonstrate self-reliance. We also need to teach our students empathy for people from diverse backgrounds, as traditional barriers continue to fall.

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