If I Knew Then...

I am taking a Technology Endorsement class offered by my school district. I have decided it is time for me to find it what else is out thee that I am not using and see what I can learn from the research done by the teachers.

The first assignment I did was to put together a plan to show what I think represents a 21st Century Classroom. I did a little reading and thinking about this topic. If I had control, what would I make my classroom look like? What technology would I have? What would I need to make sure I can reach each child in my class? So I started to write and this is what I came up with.
My vision of the 21st Century Classroom is less about the classroom and more about the ideas that need to be incorporated into the classroom setting. Moving the teacher from the front of the classroom to the side so the students can present more information as they organize their learning. The teachers becomes a guide to help students find the information. In elementary school there will be more teaching and guiding students as they learn the strategies and tools to help them organize the information. in this way, there is no schedule for students to follow, they are given a set of instructional guides and they pursue them in the best way they can, by making choices.The teacher then becomes the guide to help students learn to make the right choices to get the information they need.
The classroom itself needs to be able to be moved into groups of different sizes, depending on the projects and learning going on. Students become the focus of the classroom, not the schedules that teachers set for them. Students are encouraged to work within fluid groups. As they need a piece of information or help from one students, they learn with them and then move back to their project. There are no seating arrangements. There is just constant learning.
This classroom uses technology to further the lessons and help students learn. Technology does not need to become the center of the classroom. It becomes a support system, supporting the learning and work going on. There should be more than just a computer to find content and to deliver content. There should be many different ways to produce and disseminate information.
Curriculum and content is a resource of where learning comes from and not the starting point. Students make decisions, collaborate with each other in and outside the classroom, succeed, fail, and redesign in a supportive learning environment. Which comes to the assessment. The 21st century classroom provides opportunities for students to learn many different things and there should be a core of ideas that they learn, but they should be given different ways to show they have learned the concept and not just by a set of multiple choice questions.

I turned it in after a couple days and then started looking around my classroom a little closer. The first thing I noticed was my Smart Board. It cost quite a bit and I use it everyday, but when I have the students do most of the work and show it on the board, the board seems to be a large computer mouse. The younger grades in our school use it in amazing ways, but for what we use it for, I think I could use a Mimio Board instead. It would be a lot cheaper. I think I would not stop there. I would get rid of the whiteboard completely. In it's place, I would paint the front of the classroom with Magic Wall Magnetic Paint. Over that I would paint it with Whiteboard Paint. Can you imagine a hope wall dedicated to writing on? Add a a projector and a MimioTeach Interactive Whiteboard System. I could still use the wall as a mouse, but I could also capture and record writing, write notes everywhere, have many students work on problems at once.

The classroom should be a place students can come to put ideas together and make sense of the world. we can still teach them the basics they will need to help their ideas. Reading, writing, math, history, and science are important to learn and explore. I cannot wait to see what the next assignment is to help me explore what else is out there for me to use and explore.

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