The 21st Century Classroom

The “21st Century Classroom” event last night was a blast, thanks to Slate for hosting!  I promised to share some of the most innovative ideas.  Fortunately, Slate posted the best reader entries for classroom redesign, and Sarah Sparks did a nice recap of the event over at EdWeek.

Here are my big takeaways:

1) Any conversation about the classroom that doesn’t force an examination of the broader education delivery infrastructure is doomed to be academic.  We could design the most perfect classroom in the world, but if school systems are incapable of marshaling the planning expertise and resources to build them, it will be for naught.  (For more on this fundamental problem see roughly every other post on this blog.)

2) All of the panelists pretty much agreed that the classroom must become a more permeable space, metaphorically, to cope with the increasing fluidity of information and student experiences.  That’s a lot of buzzwords in one sentence!  But it’s true.  We have a problem when my Facebook feed alone has more analytical content than a teacher is able to access about the progress of his or her students against standards.  We have to accept that students are participating in learning well beyond the classroom – earlier in their academic careers than ever before – and embrace the learning potential of that trend.

3) Everyone also agreed that student learning needs should drive technology, and not the other way around.  Jim Shelton and I had a back-and-forth about the fact that schools end up getting the umpteenth generation of a technology, once the high-margin consumers have already cycled through the earlier versions.  We need to have student and educator needs drive the kind of classroom environments and technologies we employ in schools.

Anyway, thanks for indulging the detour from turnaround.  It was a fun discussion!


2 Responses to The 21st Century Classroom

  1. Pingback: Remainders: The world reacts to a “small tectonic shift” | GothamSchools

  2. Pingback: Remainders: The world reacts to a “small tectonic shift” | GothamSchools « Parents 4 democratic Schools

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