Being a former high school history teacher, I remember when the only computer was in the school office, and chalk and black boards (*) were the standard tools of every teacher. I even remember when the mimeograph machine was the teacher’s best friend. Now, it is amazing to see the transformations taking place in education this coming school year.
In particular, this fall there will be a new kind of student coming to school. They will be technologically savvy from kindergartner on (Remember that they are the class 2023!) and only know a world where the internet and computers are the norm. They will expect a broadband solution in every classroom along with live, constantly upgraded multi-media educational experiences accessible at any time and in their own way.
Furthermore, we also will encounter a new kind of parent. The last of the baby boomer parents are now replaced by the Gen X parents and those even younger who are all actively engaged with high expectations even if they do not always communicate them to those who are educating. They also expect a broadband solution to education and they expect to be constantly updated on what is happening during the day. They assume that there is 24/7 accessibility to those who are teaching.
Finally, we are encountering a new kind of teacher. This came clear to me when Apple introduced the new iPad2 with a $ 39.00 HDMI cable that can be plugged into any flat screen TV in the classroom so the teacher can project what they are working on to all students. These pedagogically advanced new teachers are entering the classroom and also expecting a broadband solution to their educational challenges. They want live and constantly upgraded accessible resources and data at any time and in their own way. For these new teachers, the text book and the black board are being replaced by iBooks and YouTube videos.
The implications for us as leaders is to recognize that we will need to respect the teacher - student - parent relationship, and help them identify the impediments to college and workplace readiness and success. We also must help those involved define the “academic individuality” of each student, i.e. individual patterns of academic strengths and weakness while focusing on the whole K-12 experience.
This fall as school districts and states struggle to meet these changes I will reflect on my first year as a teacher, and marvel at all that is taking place.
* FYI: the black board in my first classroom was an actual sheet of plywood painted black. Chalk did not work on it very well and tended to fade quite quickly. I remember helping to install a real black board and being delighted with this technological upgrade. My how times have changed!
Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257