Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Twenty-first Century Ideals for Schools

Last week I went to the first MEGA meeting of the year. I have been going to MEGA meetings for 8 years now. I know exactly how long because when I went to my first meeting, my youngest daughter went with me in her infant car seat.

It was a great meeting with teachers from four different counties attending in person and a group of educators from ECU joining by video conference.

Melissa Bartlett, a teacher and member of the State School Board spoke to us about the new goals the board just approved. We disected each goal in small groups. Most everyone in the room had some kind of technology background or focus so we were pretty much all in agreement about the ways that schools should be moving toward the goal of twenty-first century skills. There were high-minded conversations about learning anywhere, anytime; educators who innovate and lead; and students solving real-world problems. I felt really energized and inspired.

Melissa challenged us to put these goals into our school's School Improvement Plan. And then I began to wonder how we can inspire teachers, parents and administrators to think about these idealistic improvements when they are grappling with overcrowding, burgeoning Limited English Proficiency populations and more and more emphasis on test scores. To sell these ideas we must make them practical. I believe that the high-minded ideas can impact the everyday classroom challenges, but we have to show people how. Then we can start to move toward the twenty-first century classroom.

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