Start of School

girl.jpgThe kids came back to school last Thursday. As I was driving to my office, I saw what I would guess to be a kindergarten student waiting for the bus alongside the road with her older sister. They both had on their backpacks and were holding hands while watching the traffic. Suddenly, the younger sister started bouncing up and down, obviously excited by something. When I looked in my rear view mirror I saw a bus coming around the corner. This student was excited by the sight her bus and looking forward to going to school. The uninhibited expression of her anticipation and excitement was inspiring. I know our district is filled with wonderful teachers who do their best to nurture a love of learning in their students. I know because I watch them spend hours creating units. I work with them in labs and classrooms as they travel outside their comfort zone and try new strategies. I help them write grants to get the equipment they want their students to be able to use.

ISTE recently updated the Technology Standards for Students, focusing on skills and creativity, as opposed to just the tools. Many of the presentations I’ve listened to from the NECC 2007 conference include creativity, and how it will be the valuable commodity, trait, or ability in the future. We as educators must foster creativity in our students and cultivate 21st Century Skills. Our students should be bouncing with anticipation and experiencing the joy of learning. Our students should be powering up for school, not powering down. A compelling video by Sir Ken Robinson comes to mind. This video will make you laugh aloud, and consider what it means to educate our students.

Willard Staff: The video below will be blocked at school, but is well worth the time to watch it elsewhere. The audio podcast of the presentation (link points to the iTunes store thus requires iTunes) will play at school.

Download Do Schools Kill Creativity

At this point, I feel our Tech Department is supportive of teacher’s use of educational technology, yet is taking the middle road as far what technologies are prohibited. Yes, YouTube is blocked (which is frustrating at times) as are many mp3 download sites, but we are using blogs, wikis, and podcasts. Our administrators are also supportive, modeling blogging as they contribute to The Pride and publish building blogs for their teachers. Students are allowed to bring mp3 players and phones to school, with stipulations on use. I hope that kindergarten student keeps bouncing.

Image Credit: jwinfred

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