Recently I read two different articles that have me thinking about how my own children (twins aged 10 and a 3 year old) learn, the training at Keys to Literacy, and the evolving platforms of how instruction is delivered.
The first article “The Future of College?” by Graeme Wood comes from The Atlantic. In it, Wood researches and participates in a new format of an online course. Initially, he uses words like “impersonal and far-removed”, but later goes on to highlight several strong strategies the instructor is able to utilize to reach students because of the flexibility the unique format offers.
Andrew Ross Sorkin’s article from the NY Times Magazine, “So Bill Gates has This Idea for a History Class” explains that Gates was so inspired by a video series that he decided to use it as a foundation for a History class.
Together, both of these articles illustrate innovative ideas which specifically seek out and highlight ways to motivate and engage students while teaching in a way that optimizes technology. I began teaching in the mid-nineties and since then technology has changed considerably; although many of those changes are not reflected in how students are being taught today. It is a complex issue and there are many reasons why instruction is not keeping up with technological advances (including funding and teachers own comfort with technology).
At KTL we offer both online and face-to-face training sessions for a variety of our programs. As stated on our website, “When it comes to professional development, one size does not fit all, and that is why we offer Implementation Models designed to fit your needs. We have learned that implementation flexibility is a component of long-term professional development success. As a result, we have created four Implementation Models that provide varying levels of support based on budget, resources, structures and PD schedules.”
At minimum, the Common Core State Standards tell us that we should be incorporating technology into our instruction in an integrated and meaningful way (CCSS W6,8; R2; SL2,5). During all of our Keys to Literacy trainings, we emphasize how critical it is to bring the reluctant student into class discussions and activities with a strong focus on engaging them in their learning and education. For many students, technology can be the buy-in that motivates them to take part in the lesson. This small shift in instruction may be a first step in encouraging engagement. For many students, it may answer the nagging “so what” of what we are trying to teach.
What do you think? What new platforms have you tried?