Friday, February 1, 2013

A Teacher's Dream

Just picture a classroom that is completely networked: By that I mean each student has the ability and the opportunity to build their own PLN. Each student would need access to their own device; and the teacher will have had to lead them through the process of building the network. But once that was completed, there would be nothing a student could not explore. There would be nothing a student could not accomplish. Each student could draw from multiple resources, and with the teacher's help and guidance, find their own answers to the learning activities.

Then imagine a school district where all of the educators are networked. Each teacher with the ability to collaborate, confer, and analyze educational issues with experts and peers. Each school in the district on the same curricular page, and in constant contact with each other. There would be nothing a district could not explore; and nothing they could not accomplish if they had the opportunity to do so. With the guidance of educational technology experts, and the desire by districts to bring everyone online, this can be done. Imagine the learning and professional development that could take place. via Google Images
Imagine an entire education society networked. Districts connecting with other districts, ideas being shared across the country. It wouldn't solve everything, but it would go a long way toward enabling us as a society to achieve the goals that are so important to our educational system. We will get there one day, I predict; probably sooner than I think.

But it will take a lot of money, and I don't know where that is going to come from. It will take a lot of changed attitudes about technology, and a lot of work by teachers. Sure, government will have to get on board, unfortunately, and administrators will have to push hard for reform. But in the end, it will be the teachers who seek the knowledge, attend conferences, encourage each other, inspire students, and facilitate the learning. We have to stay on top of technological trends, and we have to move one step closer to the goal each day. We need teachers that are so in love with technology that they'll stay up until 1 o'clock every night figuring out how to make this all work. 

It can happen, and it will happen. It will be the teachers that make it happen. We'll probably get no credit, but we don't care. Bureaucracy will get in the way, but we'll get around it somehow. Budgets will be drained, but we'll contribute whatever we can. Because we know that a networked classroom provides the most differential, individual, and diverse learning opportunities for the students of the 21st Century. A networked classroom belongs to the students. They can make it whatever they desire.

I can dream, can't I?


  1. Sign me up. I want to work for THAT school!

    Early adopters will lead the way; schools that aren't afraid of challenging the status quo will blaze the path. The rest will come to it in due time. I truly feel that this change is inevitable. There will come a time when people demand this sort of shift in pedagogy. I think my children's generation will want it for their children, and as the dinosaurs of the educational orthodoxy die out, the new guard will find a way to make it happen.

  2. "You might say I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one..."

    LOL I just slapped myself for quoting John Lennon. My daughter would be proud of me.

  3. There's a lot of dinosaurs right now that are keeping schools behind!

  4. Sounds like a great dream. Just think how much more efficiently districts would run on this concept when the educators and district higher-ups communicate and collaborate in this way (no need scheduling most meetings!). The teacher as a classroom 'counselor' is the biggest change that we are going to have to get used to, will we feel useless (hint: not if we are counseling correctly), will our workload go down (doubt it), but most importantly will our students consistently impress us and in the end be ready for college and careers (I'm sure they will from what I've seen and read)? A lot will change we just have to be willing, and the districts as a whole need to be too.

  5. Yes, you can definitely dream. We always teach our kids to dream. Like you said, it would be costly to do this but it would be worth it. I would love to have a school where the entire district was networked. Someday, when I am old and senile, it will be like this. I agree that we need to stay on top of technological trends. If we don’t how are our students going to do it?

  6. Teachers are going to have to be the ones to bring education even get close to your dream. We need to be demonstrating the fact that we are still learning. I think some teachers are afraid to say "I don't know, let's find out together" to their students. But those of us in the classroom know that we have to be the ones looking for new trends and work them into the classroom. Yes, my job would be much easier if I could use the same materials that I used to teach in the '80s, but times change, students lives are different and we need to try to keep on changing too. I learned a long time ago that you can't go into teaching to get credit for all you do. Some people will always believe we work 8-3 and are off for 3 months in the summer. As a teacher, it is a big boost for a former student to tell you they remember something you taught them (subject related or other) or to get recognition from your administrators for new techniques you bring into the classroom, but real teachers know that recognition isn't necessary for them to be a success.