This is a question that comes up all the time. As we purchase classroom tools and design professional development and rewrite curriculum, are we moving in the right direction? This is a tough question.
In my mind, there are two main philosophies about the Classroom of the Future: Instructional and Educational.
Instructional means the tools that allow teachers to instruct in more engaging, interactive ways. This might include a Smartboard, document camera, projector, soundfield, any other tool that the teacher uses predominantly to deliver instruction. These are powerful tools, but they are limited by the fact that it is mostly the teacher who uses them. Many of our teachers are working hard to design lessons using these tools that are more interactive, including students in the lesson more. I have seen how effective these tools can be in engaging students of all ages.
Educational means tools that allow students to construct their own learning. The most obvious example would be student computers, but others include handheld devices like PDA's, cellphones, ipods, etc... Video and digital cameras are another example of tools that allow students to create products that demonstrate their learning. But what about robotics, sims, video games?
All of this leads to discussions about what we teach, how we teach, and what needs to change. I invite you to join me in this discussion as we explore what is the best way for us to prepare our students for their future rather than ours. What are the challenges? What excites you about these changes? Where would you like to see us go first? Please take a moment to join the conversation. Click on the Comments link below.