“Teachers, if you could wave a magic wand, what technologies would you have in your classroom? What else would you need to foster student learning?”
This is one of the questions on a survey from the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet. It is a great question, and I would love to hear from all of you in the comment area. To get things started, here are my top five.
1. I would like to replace the increasingly outdated technology of letter grades and replace them with a myriad of current and emerging technologies that are more accurate, helpful, and authentic: standard-based report cards, badges, portfolios, peer workshoppping models, as well as personalized and adaptive learning tools like Dreambox that assess and adjust more than rate and grade.
2. I would replace the technology of the traditional lesson plan and replace it with the technology of personalized learning plans, handing over the primary task of planning to the students. For that, I would turn to resources like Project Foundry and Goalbook.
3. In terms of the physical space, I would remove anything that can’t be moved and replace it with furniture on wheels, tables on wheels, and items that can be reorganized with ease as the learning experience calls for it. In a typical school day, the room might be rearranged five or six times, sometimes initiated by the teacher, but just as often by the students. With that, I would remove the technology of the teacher desk. After all, it is a “class” room and not a “teacher” room.
4. In terms of devices, I would make sure that students have a device of their choosing, but one that meets minimum specs required to get the most out of the learning experience. Ideally, we would have five or six different device types and lots of challenges to work through together…but we would never all have the same device. We would learn to work and live amid technological diversity.
5. In terms of connectivity & infrastructure, I would make sure there is robust wireless that could handle concurrent video use by all students without slowing down. There would be outlets on every wall and staggered on the floor as well. There would be two or more projection devices that could be controlled by any student with ease, allowing anyone to take over and “run with it” at any moment. There would also be a system that allows solid audio and microphones that could accommodate two simultaneous video conferencing sessions with different groups of students.
The great news is that no magic is needed. These are all available today in many locations.
My wand has been waved. Your turn.
Okay, I might also add a full-blown maker space with laser cutters, 3D laser scanners, and 3D laser printers.