Again, the best part of what I’m doing here in Shanghai is the conversations — especially having Jeff Utecht around, learning from his experiences in his classrooms (check out Teentek — http://www.teentek.com/) and a lot of the thinking he is doing about where classrooms and schools need to be.
We had another conversation the day before yesterday (was that Monday? Sunday?) with the Tech committee making plans for spending the significant money they have coming next year. It was an interesting dynamic to watch and finally participate in, and not one that is uncommon. We are trying to talk about facilitating learning that is more relevant to today’s children and their future, and to do it without talking about technology. Once you get into the technology, the the talk becomes about shopping lists. It’s a challenge to keep the conversation on the kids and learning.
Yesterday, the tech staff met for a couple of hours in the morning and probably came closer than any conversation I’ve been engaged in, to seeing, out there in the discussion, a vision for 21st century learning, classrooms, and schools. This school has developed at listing of 21st century skills, with is not dissimilar to other listings that are emerging in other places these days. But what we started talking about was classrooms that are set up for students to learn these skills — not to be taught this skills.
I think that there is a subtle but important distinction here.