As I start a new school year, and I have a more laid back week before the students arrive, I often think about the big picture of what this “school” enterprise is all about. This summer, I had the opportunity to connect with a school leader who helped clarify my thinking. Chris Lehmann, principal at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, presented at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in Washington in July. His talk about progressive pedagogy and 21st century tools really rang true for me–particularly when thinking about technology is transforming teaching and learning.
Chris states that at the center of our work with students is the goal of cultivating thoughtful, wise, passionate and kind students. What does a school look like if it has these goals in mind for its students? The first 13 minutes of this video (linked above) explores his vision for school 2.0. And although he talks about his high school, and high school students in general, in my mind, his ideas transfer easily to K-5, 6-8, and K-8 settings.
I think we want schools that are inquiry driven, that are student centered, and that approach learning and subjects in an integrated way. Learning needs to be authentic, and when it is it will lead to passionate and engaged students. Technology needs to be ubiquitous–technology should be a tool for learning, not what learning is about.
Chris Lehmann brings all these ideas forward–and more. In a future post I will discuss how, in this video, he also helps make the connection of how technology’s new Web 2.0 tools deepen student inquiry as students research, collaborate, create, present, and network.