You are hereWhat If? Technology in the 21st Century Classroom
What If? Technology in the 21st Century Classroom
On Wednesday, April 29, 2009 the Ontario PublicSchool Boards' Association (OPSBA) is releasing a Discussion Paper entitled:What If? Technology in the 21st Century Classroom. As school trustees we wantto engage the province in a meaningful focused discussion about classrooms ofthe 21st century. We want to be part of developing a provincial vision andstrategies that will make all our classrooms connected and relevant. "Today's students are leaders in the use of technology and we know theywant their learning experiences in school to reflect this," said ColleenSchenk, president of OPSBA. "Students want to take the technology they use intheir daily lives and integrate it with how they learn. They want theirlearning clearly connected to the world beyond the school." The Discussion Paper asks the question: "How can schools continue to beconnected and relevant in the world of the 21st century?" It explores therelationship between the use of technology and the scope for increasing thequality of teaching and learning. Innovative use of technology is proliferating in our schools but it isnot matching keeping pace with the integration of multi-media in the lives ofour students and it is not offering a clear and preferred alternative to theflexibility of virtual schools. In a very real sense this challenge is notabout machines and devices; it is about what learning should look like. Foryoung people today learning occurs in a wider space and time. How do we in theschool system facilitate learning in this wider sense? Many students feel, however, that when they come into school they have to"power down" to fit into an environment that offers fewer options for learningthan are available in the life they live outside of the school. This can erodestudents' perceptions of the relevance of education as they experience it inmany schools today. At the same time, students need the guidance andleadership of their teachers in judging the authenticity and worth of theinformation so readily available to them. Teachers in many schools are using technology to support differentlearning styles and engage all learners, offering developmentally appropriatelearning experiences through a variety of media. What is missing is acomprehensive set of guidelines for all teachers that describe how they woulduse technology to: promote innovative thinking and collaborative work;incorporate rich digital resources into student learning; employ variedassessment methods that can in turn improve learning; model ethical practicesin the digital age and strengthen their own professional development. At a time when the economy is shrinking, when there is again greatpressure on the education dollar, it is more critical than ever to bestrategic about allocating resources in ways that will make the greatestimpact. OPSBA is asking all those who are concerned with education in the 21stcentury, and who are interested in how schools engage with students to preparethem for success in a highly connected world, to join the discussion.