Time to Think

Greg Miller (@gregmiller68) posed some interesting questions on his Posterous recently.  The video and resulting comments are worth reading.  What is the relationship between hunches, ideas, innovation, and the time and space is takes for them to come into fruition?  One of the main premises of the video was that oftentimes, two people have hunches, or at least ideas floating in the back of their minds.  When these two hunches are allowed to meet each other, the result is the formation of a whole idea.

I found the post particularly interesting, since my mother and I just had a conversation about a month ago about ‘thinking time’, and how people are so busy nowadays that they don’t take time to just think. Didn’t Christopher Robin have a thinking tree and Blues Clues a thinking chair? One of the commenters reminded us that the most valuable commodity to teachers is time: time to plan, time to research, time to explore new technology, time to collaborate with colleagues, and time to think.

I like to think, but I feel guilty if people come into my computer lab where my desk is and see my staring off into space, like somehow I’m not BUSY, I’m not PRODUCING anything. Therefore, I tend to do my thinking at home while doing something monotonous, like mowing the grass, shaving, running, or falling asleep at night.

I feel it would be worthwhile to provide a time and place for educators to think and to collaborate.   I would say (at least in my district) a digital venue is out, because unless it’s Facebook or maybe Pintrest, most educators are uninitiated, and claim that it’s just “one more thing” you’re making them do. As a solution that could be implemented tomorrow, perhaps there is an old whiteboard or chalkboard laying around that could be put in the room where teachers gather most, say, for lunch. Butcher/bulletin board paper could even be put up across the walls, and tantalizing questions could be posed, mind maps started, a non-digital twitter feed could be written, etc.

We are looking for ways to have the students be able to collaborate and free-draw their ideas.  Why not do the same for their teachers?

In what ways do you enable your teachers’ hunches to collide?

 

Our Future in Their Hands

I wrote this post as a short article to be included in our school’s monthly PTO Newsletter:

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21st Century Learners

Today’s kindergarteners will retire in 2071.  Most likely they will have several careers in their lifetime, most of which haven’t even been imagined yet.  What our students do have in common, however, is that they are 21st century learners.  While there may be some controversy as to exactly what this phrase means, most of us in the educational field understand it to mean that in order to succeed in school, career, and life, students must take the 3 R’s of the 20th century and be able to apply them using the 3 C’s: creatively, collaboratively, and with excellent communication.  Gone are the days when students will learn a little about a lot.  It’s imperative that they now delve deeper into subjects, learning how to evaluate information, synthesize it into something unique, and communicate their findings to peers and colleagues.   Education is shifting to emphasize skill over content, with teachers and parents moving from the role of disseminator of knowledge to facilitator of learning.  With so much information so readily available, it is our responsibility to teach our kids how to find what they need, ensure that it’s reliable, and most importantly, to stay curious.  The world is only going to keep moving faster.  In order to keep up and to develop into productive citizens of the 21st century, our kids must become lifelong learners, able to handle large amounts of information in a responsible manner.

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Further Reading/Watching:

Education Week article

YouTube Video

Are you ready?  We’re going – with or without you!