I’m sitting in the Bradley airport, in Hartford, Connecticut, waiting for my flight home to Raleigh. This will be the end of my traveling until Saturday, when I take off for NECC.
The big discussion last night at the CAIS (Connecticut Association of Independent Schools) Conference was getting teachers to take advantage of professional development opportunities. Most of the attendees at the conference, at least the ones who attended my keynote, were directors of technology.
Admittedly, private schools are something of a new environment for me. I work mostly with public school districts and agencies who serve public schools. I heard more than once, while at the conference, “We don’t worry about No Child Left Behind.” Being private schools, I imagine that there are many things that they do not have to worry about, constraints that face public school teachers every day. At the same time, I suspect that private school curriculum has to be much richer and deeper than is expected in most public schools, leaving little room to retool classroom teaching and learning.
Many of the educators I talked with expressed a sense of heritage at their schools (some of the schools nearly 200 years old) that results in an almost impenetrable barrier to restructuring. We try to sell the value of technology as an educational tool and to convince educators of the need for students to develop technology skills. But it remains a hard sell.
I am convinced that our best avenue is to make a case for the changing information environment, that increasingly the information that we use on a daily basis is digital and networked, and that it has become less a product for consumption, and much more an ongoing and global conversation. If we can convince people of the changing nature of information, and articulate a new model for literacy that addresses the new information environment, then we may be able to retool classrooms by integrating the new literacy into teaching and learning.
- To make a case for the changing nature of information, and the urgency that exists for retooling classrooms.
- To build a model for literacy that expands out of the three Rs to define those basic skills that are necessary to being a successful citizen of the twenty-first century.
So, if you’re coming to NECC, I urge you to attend this session and learn what it means to be a reader, processor of information, and communicator in the knowledge age.
The address is scheduled for June 29 at 12:30 PM in Marriott Salon E/F.