Who knew 21st Century Education would look like this?
When G2K stopped by one of the 21st Century Education pilot programs, to observe it in action, we thought we would see a class of students aglow with blue screen reflecting from their eyes. Boy, were we in for a surprise. The students were engaged with the teacher and each other, and we were left standing there looking around for signs of technology!
When our super sleuth eyes surveyed the environment, we found that the technology was stealthily supporting the education and seamlessly integrated into the learning environment.
After school we sat down with Tabitha Bartlett, the genius teacher who was at the helm of that wonderment of 21st Century learning, and here is what she had to say:
“The way I incorporate it the most is to create conversation within the classroom. The doc cameras and iPads are powerful tools for ‘developing mathematical discourse.’ We are signed up to have ten iPads for one hour every Tuesday. The students work in groups in a math app that allows them to show their work. It’s now on all ten iPads so I can just walk around and project any iPad up onto the screen, in process, which is really cool, so students can talk about what they are doing as they are doing it.
This opens up a whole new world for class participation. Another math app, IXL is nice because it has feedback boxes. When they get an answer wrong it pops up so they can find out why. This instant feedback is one of the most important things with technology, because without it, when I’m walking around, I’m addressing the students in the moment, but it may be a day or two before I can really delve into all that they have worked on and see the areas they need to pick up. A day in a first grader’s life is an eternity, so for them to have that instant feedback is valuable.”
We observed Mrs. Bartlett using feedback by recording the kids as they read aloud in small groups and then playing it back. After they reviewed the story, she asked the students a question and then asked them to “turn and talk” to find the answer. The kids were engaged in creativity, collaboration, leadership, public speaking and self-confidence.
She mentioned two students who previously weren’t as easily engaged as others. Those students and possibly the students around them might have been at a disadvantage for learning, until 21st Century Education was piloted in her class. Now both students are leaning in and are engaged in their lessons. (We couldn't pick them out in our observation.)