Most kids put away their futuristic tools each morning and enter a time machine to go back to a past that is more and more unfamiliar and irrelevant to them.  We call it school.   They enter a classroom that looks much like the classrooms of yesteryear, to learn from teachers who are unfamiliar with the future tools or how they are used in the new digital landscape.  Many parents of these same children avoid teaching them how to use the new tools out of fear, frustration and intimidation.  Where will they go to prepare for their future?  Who will lead them?

Wikis, blogs, Google docs, geo-tagging, social and mobile applications, are just a few of the tools that today’s kids use… outside the classroom.  They find it odd that they’re told to look through old books for answers when Google has the latest information.  They can’t talk with others in class about the answers to a test but as soon as they leave school they collaborate with a global team to solve more complex problems in a 3D immersive gaming environment.   

Just do a Google search for “Layoffs in schools” to see that hundreds of thousands of teachers will lose their jobs this year and next. Sadly, many of the younger, tech-savvy teachers are first to go and many of the tenured teachers feel as is the digital divide has turned into a digital canyon that has them on the wrong side.  These difficult times call for creative and radical solutions.

As Dorothy said, “We are not in Kansas anymore!”  We have entered a new digital landscape that requires innovative thinking.  We need to turn everything on its head to find creative solutions, such as reverse-mentoring, where students become the teacher, where teachers become coaches, applying tried wisdom to new problems.  We need tools that blow the walls off of classrooms and take the students into environments that look more like the collaborative settings they enjoy when they leave school.

It’s time to ignite the desire for everyone to take action; to change what we know today as “school” and to become more innovative than ever before!  We must seek new and creative ways to use more technology tools in our classrooms to prepare students for their future.  We must all realize that he tools that built our past will not work to build our future.  As learners, we must enter that time machine and go back to the future, where collaboration and teaming skills are critical.

If you had to start from scratch, what would you do different?

It’s about BIG learning! It’s about change. It’s about time!

@GinaSchreck