What do you think are the major issues that face schools today? What would you do if you could actually redesign your entire school district/system?
I for one would redesign the state test into a test that is practical. Something like a 6 week project using all of the subjects from that year. I really believe in problem/project based learning because in the real world you don't sit down with a test to earn a paycheck, you put your skills to use. There's a great video that Intel Master Teachers can order dealing with Roller Coasters or you can check out these videos from one of my favorite sites to be inspired from, GLEF (George Lucas Education Foundation and the company responsible for the free magazine for teachers, Edutopia). If you want to learn more about Project Based Learning, you can also check out Tech4Learning's Project Learn.
One of the proposals for school reform included "create curriculums that emphasize creativity and abstract concepts over rote learning or mastery of facts." Sounds a lot like the use of technology in the form of WebQuests, Digital Storytelling, effective use of Web 2.0, and even some non-technology ideas that encourage the students to think for themselves and to actually use their imagination. The best problem solvers I find are those that can use their imagination!
Of course there is some controversy, such as how to finance and how to organize school systems. However, I do like the ending quote from Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, "Now we need to think much more daringly." There's a great poster out that says "Think out side the shell." I think that the best educators and those that are really motivated to teach already do this and would be a great resource for those really wanting to shape the future of education. They are daring in trying new things, not afraid of testing something out that may not work, willing to individualize a lesson, and while they are not doing the day to day worksheets and rote lessons, they are still meeting the state standards and making the grade.
So I double dog dare you to come up with a plan. What are you doing to change the way students are taught? Share your ideas with others by leaving a comment or at least by talking about this in your own network of teachers.
There were other great