If you took a peek into the future, what would a day in the life of a student in the look like? A group of students (two participated via video conference), teachers, parents, administrators and community members, numbering around 45, gathered at the District Office on Sept. 11 for just that: to imagine and dream of what and how Novato students will be learning in and out of the classroom and technology’s role in that experience.
Forgetting about budget problems, CST scores, and bell schedules for the day, the group stepped into a place where anything was possible and developed numerous classroom visions. The day was about acknowledging where we are and creating a vision of where we want to be.
Facilitated by Jim Lengel, a Yale and Harvard graduate who has spent his career in education from the Director of Education for the state of Vermont to Education Technology Consultant for Apple Computer to Assistant Professor of Communication at Boston University, the group was led on a journey of possibilities. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a vision of a Novato school in the future by examining the changing world, considering the energy and industry of our young people, and painting a picture of the school needed to serve that world and those students.
To begin the journey, Lengel shared Education 3.0, his philosophy of how work and education are connected and evolve together and how now, in 2012, those two appear disconnected. The workplace has outpaced education and the demands of the employees of the future require more emphasis on 21st Century learning skills such as cooperation, collaboration and communication.
In eight small groups each with a student, teacher, parent, administrator and community member, the teams began to discuss and share their thoughts of what that classroom or student experience would look like. Each team developed a vision and then translated that vision, or scene, into a short, visual presentation.
Some of the scenes were developed using Keynote or Powerpoint, while others were short videos or storyboards. They covered all grade levels, subjects, and time of day and all used some type of technology from a tablet to video conferencing to engage the student. By the end of the day, each team had developed two scenes for a total of 16 scenes.
The student participation was invaluable. Their knowledge of tablets, computers, where to go and what to do was amazing. One student, who was participating via video conference, developed a quick website over lunch for the team’s scene while another student quickly edited some of his animation for his team’s scene. The scenes were very short — 2-3 minutes — and consisted of what we imagined and dreamed for our students.
What’s next? These 16 scenes, or visionary ideas, will be developed into a presentation/slideshow/video to be shared with the Novato community, A Day in the Life of a Novato Student. It will be used to develop a plan of what needs to be done to move the district toward its vision. And part of that vision is providing 21st Century skills to students to prepare them for jobs and careers that don’t yet exist.
— Leslie Benjamin, NUSD Public Information Officer