Saturday, February 5, 2011

K12 Online Conference Reflection – 2/5/11

The Classroom Teacher as a 21st Century Instructional Leader
Video By: Tim Tyson

Tim Tyson’s video focused on new ideas, change and leadership.  Tyson discussed how schools and classrooms do not live in isolation, but are affected by the culture and economy that they are a part of.  He also mentions how schools can have an effect on the community they serve.  During the beginning of his video, Tyson discussed a lack of national will in America and a lack of willingness to work together as a country.  He highlighted Finland as a country who has really come together to improve education and the country as a whole under the concept of Sisu.  He did say that although we might not want to copy Finland, their ideas are successful and they could be a great guide for our country.

The rest of Tyson’s video was a call for teachers to be leaders and to be advocates for change.  One comment he made that I especially liked was when he discussed how we cannot keep the same educational system and expect different results.  He proposed that in order to change our country and the way we think we need a fresh education policy in order to empower children who are the future of our country.  He tells us to give them hope and to give them a reason to want to be successful.  He urges us to be less reactive and more proactive.

I really enjoyed watching this video and listening to his ideas.  I do believe that teachers can and should be leaders in their classrooms and in their communities.  Giving students a teacher who is a strong leader and advocate for their community and for education can empower students and give them hope and a reason to improve themselves and their community. 
Tyson really made me think about how truly connected the community and schools are, and how one greatly affects the other.  I think teachers should use this connection to their advantage.  One of Tyson’s suggestions for improvement is for teachers to be “transparent”.  Show your work and your students’ work in order to improve and change education, do not work in isolation.  When teachers focus on students and community, they can really work to prepare their students for the future full of choices and opportunities.  I feel that Tyson made some great points throughout his video and he really encourages teachers to lead.        

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Equal Access Question 2/2/11

Is it the responsibility of the teacher to provide equal access to the digital world to all learners?

My personal belief is that teachers have the responsibility, in this day of technology, to expose students to as much of the digital world and technology as possible.  However, with that said I feel that the teachers are only responsible for providing equal access to technology that they use in the classroom.  This means that if a teacher assigns a Webquest as a project, he/she needs to provide equal access for all learners to a computer and the internet for enough time to complete the project.  Another aspect of this includes at home projects that require technology.  If a teacher assigns a project to do at home using technology, then they need to provide access to that technology at school for those students who do not have access at home.

I think one way to accomplish giving all leaners equal access is for teacher to integration technology that they and their students have access to.  If teachers have certain technology available to them, then I think they should integrate and expose students to it, but if certain technology is not available for regular use then why integrate it just for the sake of integrating it. 

Overall, I think that part of being a 21st century teacher is integrating and exposing students to the digital world, but only to the best of their ability with the technology they have available to them.