When technology started to become an integral part of our lives, I used to tell my students that the jobs they would get had not been invented yet.
This season, over turkey and eggnog, I realized that the time had already arrived. Chatting with my children, nephews and nieces, and other family members, I realized that I had no idea what their job titles meant and that I could not have imagined that job even a decade ago.
My next thought was – what are we doing to keep up with our students and the world that they will inherit? Are we making the necessary changes so that they leave us ready to take on the world and be successful in life and career? I started to think back at my teaching career and how each year meant one more layer of something – cooperative learning, multiple intelligences, literacies and technology, etc. – and how unwieldy it became as all these little pieces added to an already crowded and difficult timeline.
Just in time, I saw this article by Terry Heick (January 3, 2019) and it mirrored my feelings about the future of the classroom, and it also gave some pointers towards a path for making the necessary changes to meet those future needs. What the pragmatist in me liked is that it referred to “shifts” not “changes” and that “the most compelling and powerful trends, concepts, and resources that represent its promise” were already available (and didn’t require tons of money and hours of training).
Even the title Tomorrow’s Learning Today: 7 Shifts To Create A Classroom Of The Future didn’t leave me breathless and exhausted but curious and hopeful.
Before even getting into the meat of the article, the author acknowledged the biggest challenge that teachers face: IMPLEMENTATION. By addressing this first and stating that “many of the elements of a progressive learning environment…work together…and, that collectively they can reduce the burden on those managing the learning because they place the learner at the center…” gave me a feeling of I Can Do This. The new shifts use “integration” not “tacking on”.
The seven shifts made sense to me, but the last two made my heart sing… “Spaces and places matter”… “authentic learning experiences allow learners to self-direct personal change in pursuit of social change–and that starts small, at home and surrounding intimate communities” and finally “self-directed learning is at the core of the future of learning”.
Small changes make for big results in the end. I can teach to this end.
Happy New Year!