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Scott Pete

Although I don't have data to back this up, my own observations of my kids school activities lead me to believe that they are further advanced in the subjects they are attempting, yet further behind in real school motivation.

In my observations, schools do not seem to be effective at engaging the students and maintaining their interests. Perhaps this is caused by the disparity between their home lives where they regularly multitask numerous activities whereas at school it is a more linear engagement.

On a daily basis I speak to clients about migrating toward more customer-centric marketing methodologies, better understanding customer needs and delivering true value through relevant communications designed to facilitate a growth in those customer relationships.

Perhaps it is time that schools did the same. Are there ways that schools could better understand the needs and interests of each student, and provide some additional flexibility in either the subject matter or methods of interaction? How do kids think today? How do they interact, learn?

Having technology in the schools is not enough. Putting it to use effectively is the challenge.

Very good pointa. There are a lot of people who seem to think that all that has to be done is to offload technology on schools to make all the students into eager learners. But it's the teaching that really makes a difference! ~ Katie

Mark Pinto

I agree with Scott. Our gifts of technology today have cut us off from what we had and what we could be doing. Our lack of interaction in the schools, teaching to tests, valuing our kid' education more on short term property value (our state's school's systems are directly tied to the property value of our communities)and low teacher pay, cut us off from the creativity and innovation needed to prepare children for the future. Corporate learning and development are facing these realities more effectively as they see the value of fully developing people to be more adaptive to changing environments, rather than complying to perceived the perceived value of passing tests and making grades.

Rob Jacobs

We spend a lot of time focused on teaching and how to improve teaching. But let's get a little creative. Instead of teaching, let's think creatively about learning.

A student can learn in all sorts of situations. A student can use technology to learn anywhere, at any time, and from anyone.

Further if we think about learning, a student can learn at a museum, at a concert, from a visit to the local VFW, and at home.

So, get creative and flip the question from teaching to learning and see what you get.

Julie Coffin

"Should our schools be changing to meet the times?" Absolutely! Do I see this happening? Absolutely not.

Let me back up a little bit: I am a freelance textbook writer. And I have three children--one each in elementary, middle, and high school. What I see happening, from both my professional perspective and my parental perspective, is that state- and federal-mandated tests drive nearly everything. Our schools (and the educational materials) change only because someone on a committee decides that children need to start learning how to compare and contrast in second grade instead of in third.

Rare is the teacher (in my experience), young or old, who uses or teaches technology effectively. There's no time to teach technology because the principal has mandated that we all have to read and write and do our social studies lessons, plus lots of worksheets (and some of them with very old copyright dates on them) before we can learn how to type or how to import photos to a PowerPoint program or learn anything else that is interesting or really useful.

How would I change schools? I would make teaching and learning fun instead of drudgery. I would reward the teachers who think and teach creatively, even if their messy projects were all over the hallway. I would hire teachers who don't want to use textbooks and encourage them to teach with whatever resources they wish. I would put up a banner at the front entrance of the school that says "Read Exuberantly!," and within a week, every kid in the school would be using the word "exuberantly" and they would know what it means. What a great word.

In our changing world, we need less emphasis on rigid standards (though such milestones have their purpose and their place), and more emphasis on creativity and problem-solving. What a huge machine it is, though (the education system), and how slowly it moves.

J. Coffin
Luther College '84 (Classics)

You hit the nail on the head with all the difficulties of changing schools today. Too many "must do's" and not enough room for creativity. Pretty frustrating. ~ Katie

P.S. I was a Classics major at Luther too!

Frank Calberg

Rob, I think you touch upon an important point when mentioning that β€œA student can learn in all sorts of situations. A student can use technology to learn anywhere, at any time, and from anyone.”

Julie, you mention that β€œIn our changing world, we need less emphasis on rigid standards (though such milestones have their purpose and their place), and more emphasis on creativity and problem-solving.” You also write that you would reward the teachers who think and teach creatively. Regarding rewarding: Can you elaborate on how would you would reward teachers who think and teach creatively? Please be concrete. Thanks in advance.

Frank Calberg

Here are 11 advantages of using a blog for teaching:
http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/11-advantages-of-using-a-blog-for-teaching

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