A small group within Colombia has attempted to not only reinvest in the education system, but also redefine conventional schooling. Fundación Escuela Nueva, meaning the New School, is a schooling system established in 1975 that has reinvented the traditional orientation of the classroom. Internationally recognized, the system has been extremely successful in the development of student learning, but one can only wonder about the potential of the system if simple technologies were introduced as well.
Escuela Nueva encourages students to actively partake in their education by granting students the permission to take hold of the classroom and teach their peers. Such an environment proves conducive for open discussions and allows creativity to flourish. Teachers act as moderators, allowing the students to truly seize their curriculum while teachers solely facilitate the organization of the class. Furthermore, lessons specifically target the skills and knowledge that students need in their day-to-day lives. (more…)
On a Wednesday morning at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, I caught up with science teacher Bob Green. Mr. Green, a physics and chemistry teacher at Thurston, is known throughout the school as being the most ‘tech-savvy’ of the teachers. His students receive all of their assignments online, and instead of spending class time lecturing, Mr. Green has put all of his lectures on vodcasts (video podcasts) for the students to watch on their own time. In fact, every thing that Mr. Green’s students do is on “their own time,” and computer-based learning practices play a key role.
I spoke with Mr. Green about his use of technology in the classroom and asked what advice he had for teachers who were just starting out with technology.
“The most important thing is for it to be as student-centered as possible,” and “technology promotes people to people interaction as opposed to one person standing up front,” Mr. Green said.
He also spoke about the need for perseverance, especially in grant writing, as well as the use of a proficiency-based grading system using “I – Can” statements.
As teachers using technology, we don’t need to know everything. Part of a student-centered classroom is letting students be in the driver seat. “I’m not one of those teachers who is afraid to try stuff that I can’t do. If my students are better than me, that doesn’t hold me back. I don’t pretend to be the expert,” Mr. Green said.
The entire interview is provided below.
Off to learn more about education!
Photo by Mary Ames for Bon Education
Last weekend I saw a fall classic played out on grassy fields near schools and community centers across the country: the Columbus Day Weekend Soccer Tournaments. The autumn ritual, where parents of kids aged toddler through teenager converge for a day of orange slices, grass stains, the joys of victory and the anguish of defeat, celebrates the energy and joy of young athletes and pays homage to the work of the youth coach.
Youth sports coaches hold a special place in the lives of our children and our community. These men and women act both as educators and playmates, coaches and parents, mentors and friends.
As online communities and resources for educators have grown, parallel communities for coaches have developed, designed to support youth coaches and provide training tips and coaching tools.