Conf Call Discussion Ideas: 5/2/07

Also see: Designing the 21st Century School. As a prose version overview of 21st century schools themes, see Pat Bassett's article.

The "classroom of the future" will be aligned with NAIS's sustainability themes for 21st. C. Schools: (financial, demographic, global citizenship, environmental, programmatic)

The room at the conference space in NYC is round and about 40 feet across. We plan to use this rotunda as a "classroom in the round" with a ring of seats in the middle and then a second ring of seating for observers. On the hour, 20 minute mini-lessons on various elements/themes/technologies of the classroom of the future. For the rest of the hour: visitors can play with new technologies at stations around the perimeter of the room.

Something was bothering me about the phrase “classroom of the future” and I just figured out what. It should be “classrooms of the future”. [1]

Important "Classroom of the Future" ThemesEdit

  • Integrity and Character (social and global consciousness)
  • Expertise/competence in some field & Interdisciplinary Knowledge
  • Creativity & Innovativeness
  • Teaming & Collaboration (communication skills)
  • Critical Thinking (self-disciplined analytical mind & organizational skills)
  • EQ: Emotional IQ (Empathy, Inclusivity, Other-focused)
  • Leadership Skills
  • Problem Solving (Project-Based Experiential Learning)
  • Gaming and Simulation Learning
  • Information Literacy (seeking and validating resources) (wikipedia)

Possible Topics for Presentations in the Classroom (formally/informally)Edit

We must balance "pushing the envelope" with "leading gently into the new day" so that all stakeholders understand and commit to the new challenge ahead.

  • What are we talking about? (Intro to 21st Century for those new to the shift and beginners with "bleeding edge" tech)
  • Unstructured time for focus groups - invite heads/teachers/others to sit and share, with a facilitator to keep things nice and to record ideas (and use to trigger post conference discussions)
  • Learning in Practice - Ask attendees to "capture" their conference experience and share it digitally. Cell phone pics, audio recordings, blog entries, etc. How to store and share these at NAIS? Who oversees? Can Apple loan iPods (with mics?)?
  • Information Literacy - How do we teach kids to be discerning consumers of information and to research, formulate and defend their own views?
  • It would be great to have a presentation on learning and the design cycle.Invite Mitchel Resnick from the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten to share one of his papers on Playful Learning and/or to introduce their very cool product, Cricket Ideally he would present and then there would be "lab space" for participants to use Crickets. The hands-on learning/creating with Cricket would be guided by grad students from Lifelong Kindergarten or others who have used Cricket.
  • Sir Ken Robinson spoke at the 2004 CASE/NAIS conference and he would be a perfect fit for the 2008 conference. His twenty minute TED presentation was profoundly moving. That speech is also available on YouTube. An alternative to having Ken in person would be to broadcast his TED speech in the conference classroom. Capturing participant feedback to the speech is important. Encourage people to blog their reactions or create a wiki about it. Immediately after the speech there could be a panel discussion or a wider discussion by all who viewed the speech. Film the discussion and post the film to YouTube.
  • A teacher can simultaneously conduct a science experiment with his/her students using a digital document camera that projects to a large screen while displaying a Web-based animation depicting a related scientific process on another screen. In addition, using another screen, an Internet2 connection and some wireless microphones, students can video-conference with an expert on the scientific topic they are studying. Finally, the teacher works along with the students using a spreadsheet to crunch data from the experiment on a Smartboard while the students are doing the same on their wireless Internet connected palm pilots or laptops. Of course all of this is being recorded to a DVD or to the Web so that students may take a second look later on that evening while doing their homework or studying for the next day’s test.[2]

Technologies That Could Be DemonstratedEdit

It would be great to incoporate these as tools within the discussion topics/themes mentioned above, so that they are integrated and not stand-alone. Following a particular 20 minute presentation, we would then ask attendees to use the remaining time to go to the stations at the perimeter of the room to use that particular technique to add their own thought/ideas. For example, if we had a presenter for 20 minutes on Emotional Intelligence, and the presenter showed how to comment on his/her blog to respond to a question on this topic, after the session, the attendees would then move to the perimeter stations and all comment on that blog.

Stations Around the PerimeterEdit

There will be various "stations" around the perimeter of the room, each with a way for attendees to participate in contributing to, and discussing, the classroom of the future. See comment under "Technologies That Could Be Demonstrated" above. Each "station" might need to be able to access all of the possible uses, so that following each presentation, we could generate enthusiasm to participate on that particular tool/medium.

  • a blog displayed on a large screen
  • a wiki displayed on a large screen with pages for posting ideas
  • a podcast listening/recording station
  • a video recording station displayed on a large screen
  • video-conference links to other locations displayed on a large screen
  • entrepreneurial station (including CAD for designing and computerized fabricator for producing an actual product)
  • tablets

Participant RealitiesEdit

  • Heads/trustees/administrators may not be on the cutting edge with teaching-learning technologies and think; don't want to scare them off. Some workshop 101s
  • Participants might be more interested in the "near-term future" than long-term
  • Could be getting 2k teachers on Friday
  • In this new learning mode, still important to have a framework for the students

Involving Teachers/StudentsEdit

  • Can we involve Apple Distinguished Educators?
  • What about involving teachers remotely (to teach one of the 20 minutes classes)
  • Need to have teachers who are skilled at asking questions
    • Consider approaching Alan November and/or Jamie McKenzie
    • "Teachers need not fear that they will be made obsolete. They will, however, feel increasing pressure to bring their methods--along with the curriculum--into line with the way the modern world works. That means putting a greater emphasis on teaching kids to collaborate and solve problems in small groups and apply what they've learned in the real world. Besides, research shows that kids learn better that way than with the old chalk-and-talk approach." [3]
  • Involve students/teachers in developing the closing video clip of the conference

Learning CultureEdit

  • Gap between what students experience in school and the "real-world" (December Time Magazine article)
  • Students expecting integration of tech tools into their learning
  • Students very mobile so learning goes beyond the classroom
  • Students want to be creators
  • We need to do more customization of education/teaching/learning with students

Beyond NYC 08Edit

  • This is a multi-year effort, so will have Chicago in '09, too
  • What can we do to encourage ongoing discussion


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