Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Next Generation Learning - A NASBE Report

The National Association of State Boards of Education released a report this month which recommends using technology and other modern tools to move away from class "seat-time" models and toward models that promote both in-class and out-of-class innovation, a blended learning model - No Time to Wait: Creating Contemporary School Structures for All Students Today and Tomorrow.

This report highlights the urgency to restructure the education system to meet the needs of today’s students who are learning and socializing in the “Knowledge Age”. The main concern is the teaching model that was created for students of a different time, where teachers dispersed information and students were to memorized facts and solve a set of fundamental problems. The call for change presented in this report really challenges the traditional model of teacher-centre learning to a more student-centered learning model. This is something many of today’s educators do appreciate, understand, and value, but the significant change presented here advocates technology as an integral learning tool for students and teachers, and creating a virtual classroom that can be literally open 24/7, and available to a global community.

This style of learning would allow students and teachers to individualize learning, and for students to set their own pace for learning and acquiring credits. As for the role of the teacher, the report addresses the need to develop critical thinking skills in relation to accessing information as well as to address the emotional and psycho-social needs of students. Of course, good teaching has always included this.

The following link: Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom By Alan November, provides an insightful look at changing learning styles, and gives clear examples of how it might be executed within the classroom rather than providing a list of changes.