The holidays inspire reflection. I have much to reflect on this year, having started a new job in a new city this summer. New jobs offer an opportunity to test theories of what is best for students. Certain ideas can claim a sort of universality if they survive the test of different circumstances. I’m more committed to the following beliefs accordingly:
Educational technology is a phrase that will disappear from our vernacular in the next 10 years. We will just use technology in education the same way we do in all other realms of life. It won’t need a special category. Related, once technology is employed in the service of these academic ends and all teachers and students are comfortable with the tools, only the curricular development role remains relevant. We didn’t have pen and paper integrators all these years…
The revolution of American pedagogy won’t take very long. Many good teachers have embraced the essential tenets of 21st century pedagogy independently without any influence from the books and blogs that advocate it. They’ve managed to teach in a traditional environment while cleverly embracing real world contexts, big ideas rather than mere content, meaningful collaboration, alternative assessments, creativity, and ingenuity. Good teachers intuit or reason that these strategies work. They just need the tools to work and be available for all their students to change their classrooms completely.
We will conceive of teenagers in an entirely different way in 50 years. Technology and progressive pedagogical models will lead students to do amazing things that really affect the world. The optimism and naiveté of a 16-year-old can be a more potent force for change than the money, experience, and connections of a 35-year-old. Prepare to be amazed.
Once the technology is available and integrated, good teachers won’t need more than a “thumbs up” from their administrators to effect change in their classrooms. When they do, the students will effect change outside it. This will all happen relatively quickly because the philosophy essential to 21st century pedagogy is sound, logical, and true. And the truth always wins.