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Thursday, July 1, 2010

What is a 21st Century teacher?

I did not go to the Denver and attend ISTE, but I have been following along the blogs of my PLN.  I hope that they publish more of their notes and thoughts as the weeks of summer wane on.  A couple of things have already stood out to me.

1. The keynote did not go over well.  Something for me to think about and revise how I make presentations.

2. We can laugh at ourselves and our situations.  I do this already and most of my collogues and particularly outsiders do not think I am funny.  Oh well, I think that I will continue to do so and retain my sanity.

3. I need my PLN.  I have never met these people but I know that they are amazing.  I still want a local face to face PLN group, though.  So if anyone out there is interested let’s meet once a month or so.

4. I have finally found a definition of what a 21st century educator is that I really like.  I have tried to articulate my thoughts and ideas to others and I just get stares and rebuttals.  But now I have the words to use.  Thank you to Beth Hertz.

21st Century Educators/teachers are really contemporary teachers.

“A contemporary teacher is one who maintains relevant content and delivery and allows students to explore content through whatever medium or pathway that is appropriate for the task, whether it is using technology or not. A 21st Century teacher is a contemporary teacher, integrating technology seamlessly with content, transforming lessons and building global citizenship amongst his/her students.  S/he is an advocate for his/her students, s/he connects with like-minded educators and never stops learning.” Hertz

Like Beth, I too, think that teachers today need to take the time to transform their lessons so that they allow for the students to think outside of the classroom.  I want to be a risk taker and an innovator.  I need to seek the opinions of others so that my students are networking and growing.  I want to be with other educators that are seeking out their own resources or even creating them.  I actually need the teachers of my own children to be as committed as I am.  I admire those that spend extra time thinking of ways to to challenge my kids and finding resources to use beyond a textbook.  I would rather present a project that challenges students and have it fall flat than use the tried and tired old stand bys.  I have found that students learn a lot more even when something fails than if I just cookie cutter out my lessons.

So, can we slowly but surely change the minds of the system that we live in or should we just change our own little corner.  I am for speaking out or even shouting out and making a scene.  Let’s get everybody to to realize that students really can get excited to be in the classroom.  Technology is not the answer but sometimes the use of technology can be the hook that grabs a student and excites them.  I say it is not really about the facts and figures that we must test them on but on how they can reconfigure the material into something new.  It’s the process.

I am finally getting excited for the next school year.  I am going to blow up and change up what I have been doing.  I have a dynamic and creative classroom already but when I think of the possibilities I almost begin to shake with excitement.  I teach in a district that is technology rich, with an amazing tech person for a resource, I have terrific students, and a budget that allows me to do what I want.  So it seems to me the ball is in my court and I can have a fabulous new year.

I am a contemporary educator, are you?


Paula Montrie said...

I like the idea of starting with "our own little corner" - hopefully doing so will convince others that this kind of learning is not only possible but desirable.

I also have the impulse to "blow up and start over" some things after attending ISTE. Maybe it's because I'm a person who enjoys change, but I see some exciting uses of what I've learned and I can't wait to start them. (Well, I probably can wait until August :))

Mrs. Tenkely said...

Mary Beth Hertz is quite the gal. Well stated! The constant "blow up and start over" is part of being that contemporary educator. It means that we are constantly reevaluating why and how we are teaching and the methods we are using to do so.