Educational Leadership – December 05 January 06

I’m still reading it but there are some great articles in this month’s issue of Educational Leadership: Learning in the Digital Age from ASCD.

Mark Pensky’s article on Listening to the Natives (He coined the term Digital Natives to describe students today) is a compelling argument to expose students to learning in their own context. He states that:

Our school’s should be teaching kids how to program, filter knowledge, and mazimize the features and connectivity of their tools. Students should be learning 21st century matter, such as nonotechnology, bioethics, genetic medicine, and neuroscience.

He goes on to say:

It is revealing that one of the most prevalent student demands regarding technology is to keep their schools’ computer labs open until midnight (and for us to stay out of their way while they are there).

This is kind of radical, but I take from it that we should be listening to our kids. He ends with the following:

As we educators stick our heads up and get the lay of the 21st century land, we would be wise to remember this: If we don’t stop and listen to the kids we serve, value their opinions, and make major changes on the basis of the valid suggestions they offer, we will be left in the 21st century with school buildings to administer — but with students who are physically or mentally somewhere else.

Pretty interesting stuff. He leave’s me asking questions like, what does this school look like? How do we still get basic education done. What should this basic education be? And how do we teach kids to be question authority, including our own, but remain good teachers? Lots to think about.

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