Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Future Is Now.... For Education

There has been much talk within and outside the walls of Manson Northwest Webster about what education should look like. Many within the community experienced education that looks like the picture below. Straight rows, lecture based, listening to the “all knowing teacher.” That was the education that many of us grew up in. So what should education look like, sound like, feel like? This becomes the debate for many.

Jeff Utech, the blogger of gave his viewpoint after being posed this question by an educator, “will teachers ever be replaced by machines.” His response was. We are not going to be replaced by machines, but individual teachers will be replaced by communities of learners. In those communities everyone will be a teacher and everyone will be a learner. Wow, a community of learners, what a concept! What does this community look like? In my mind it feels and looks more “work-like.” Many of us everyday go to work as part of a “community of learners” working collaboratively for a common goal or working to solve a common problem. (Additional information on this subject can be found at! )

Curtis Wong, from the website writes about the future school day. Curtis says the following about what education should look like: The teacher is more of a coach and provides suggestions for areas to explore rather than giving answers to questions. Students are challenged and seek out resources to help themselves to understand and build the solutions that help them make progress to understanding bigger problems. This is a great vision of what a community of learners would look like. Is the teacher important in this environment? Heck yes, very important, very needed, but very much part of the learning community but as a lead learner.

I also want to take a minute to reference a blog post from Jeff Dicks, Superintendent of Schools for Newell Fonda, which turned into a sophomore English class project. Jeff blogged on MLK and What is Your Dream? All of Jeff’s statements pertained to education, I have included some his highlights. Moving At The Speed of Change blog can be viewed at
•That people stop others when they begin to talk negative about education while not knowing facts
•That students embrace and excel with the tools we provide
•That our students can connect with learners from all over the United States
•That business and industry connect with schools to move change

Mr. Richman’s sophomore English class piggybacked off of this post with the following, “I Have A Dream” statements.
•I have a dream that one day cancer will no longer exist. -Maranda Olson
•I have a dream that someday people will stop abusing kids. -Miranda Simpson
•I have a dream that people won’t be afraid to be themselves, instead of being what other people want them to be. - Callie Paterson
•I have a dream that school bullying will end completely. - Garret Carman
•I have a dream that when a little girl is born, no matter where she is born, no matter what nationality she is, no matter if she can see or can't, can hear or can't, she will be treated as an equal and not placed in a category and judged. - Melissa Johnson
•I have a dream that happiness will rain over all the unhappy people in the world. - Drake Harman
•The rest of the I Have a Dream statements from this sophomore class can be viewed at

How has education changed within the walls of Manson Northwest Webster. Below are some links to learning that is taking or has taken place. These projects show a shift away from random facts, lecture based experiences, where students are sitting and getting, to learning experiences that are more a “community of learners” in nature, to learning experiences where the students are more in charge of their learning. Has Manson Northwest Webster mastered this? Are we at the end of our journey? NO, but we are most certainly off to a good start. The Future Is Now!

As Lilies Fade, blog
What evers NEW!, blog
Imported Beef, video project
Newton’s Laws of Motion, video project
7th Grade Symbaloo
7th Grade Symbaloo
Modern Warfare, website
Euthanasia, video project
Something Eargasmic!, blog
Virtual Reality images,