Sometime ago, I had heard Thomas Friedman suggest that we often have 21st Century students and 20th Century teachers. I felt indicted by this statement and hope that on my better days, that might actually be true.
I taught for years in an urban setting, teaching for St. Paul Public Schools, and I began to question the relevance of what I brought to the classroom and the manner in which I delivered it. It caused me to reflect on my own education, training, and experience in a world where change is accelerating at ever-increasing rates. It caused me to begin asking what we must do to address an educational system that is clearly “preparing” students for a world that no longer exists. It caused me to ask, how might we prepare students for a world and workforce that doesn’t yet exist.
That brings me to my current role/s. I am exploring these questions in both my academic life and in my work life. It is an arena where theory and practice meet and often collide. It is an arena in which I continue to evolve and ask the question: what does education need to look like for the 21st Century and beyond?
I have recently accepted the role as Curriculum Director for BlueSky Online Charter School, Minnesota’s first fully online public high school. That said, it is often easy to be lulled into sense of complacency, thinking that simply being an online school is innovative in and of itself. Simply delivering traditional curriculum in an online environment is not enough.
For academics and the theorists, these questions are anything but new, and for the NCLB-strapped practioners, day to day survival often dictates something other, and the chasm between theory and practice is often substantial. So over the next few days, I will be musing about how we not only bridge that chasm, but leapfrog into the 21st Century.