The “New Normal” seems to be a depressing topic for many areas of education. There have been many teachers let go from their positions, class sizes increased, and reductions in many budgets. I agree this is not the way we dream of teaching, but I still believe we can create 21st century classrooms with less.
I believe many districts will:
1) Embrace free Web 2.0 tools – Software purchases do not have to be a burden any longer. With the onset of such options as Google Docs, Webspiration, and Sumopaint, our teachers have the latest tools without having to load up computer hard drives.
2) Alter the Internet policies to increase online productivity – More districts are creating levels of filtering so teachers have access to sites such as YouTube while keeping students on a tighter filter.
3) Add wiki and blog modules to district websites – many website programs are answering teacher demand for these tools along with features to allow video embeds and more without increasing costs.
4) Encourage the use of virtual professional development and tech support – Utilizing free video conferencing tools opens the doors to less traveling and wait time for immediate support.
5) Develop tactics to communicate easily with the public – Some districts are already sending out text messages, Tweets, and Facebook announcements for parents to stay informed.
I do feel that districts will continue to push forward toward 21st century learning even if it takes a little more creativity to get there (and isn’t that one of the 21st century skills, anyway?).
What do you think?