“It’s not what the teacher does that’s important. It’s what the teacher gets the children to do.”
Phil Schlecty said that, but it could have been any teacher, anywhere. We all know: Education starts and ends with active learning—a classroom culture where students lead an in-depth exploration of authentic and important topics. Two elements make that happen: the integration of technology into learning and the incorporation of projects into lessons.
Technology and projects. Sounds straightforward enough. And, truly, it is. Technology integration, the incorporation of computers, software, network-based systems, internet-based programs and research, email, Web 2.0 (or any other technology-based resources and practices) into the classroom, means students use all of these tools–beyond books and lectures–to explore academic questions. It supports inquiry-based learning and project-based learning. It fills the holes left when books aren’t available, providing equity in scholastic offerings. It allows students to take responsibility for their learning—sleuth out the answers to questions that arise in an everyday educational environment, those left behind by a static curriculum. It demands higher order thinking, analysis, and problem solving. It encourages individual accountability and performance-based assessments. It empowers active and experiential learning that is remembered years later. What teacher wouldn’t want that?