Imagine... you are a classroom teacher, responsible for preparing graduates for a brave new world, living and breathing technology. From advances in medicine, to protecting our natural resources, you have no idea where technology will be by the time your elementary students graduate. How do you keep up?
Since my intital training with Intel, during which we created "cutting edge" U.o.P.s (Units of Practice) with basic Microsoft Office tools, technology in schools, not to mention the world, has come a long way. It still amazes me how much has changed since then. Students are now digital natives being taught, for the most part, by digital immigrants (AKA older teachers). The world is changing so fast that we have no way of knowing how to truly best prepare them for the future. The best we can do is to provide essential questions to guide their learning and create a classroom environment that engages them actively in learning opportunities that challenge them to apply skills in new ways that best fit the problems they are solving.
Two summers ago, I helped my district write technology curriculum that was embedded in grade level, subject area curriculum. In this way, we were showing teachers ways to integrate technology instead of trying to just fit it in. Already, we need to update it because of the advances in that short a time.
It is our job, our problem to keep solving, to ensure that we keep learning new ways to engage our students and provide them with appropriate challenges that will prepare them for the future, whatever that may look like by the time they arrive.
So... how do we keep up? Good question, but no easy answers.
The best we can do is to question the students, engage them in problem-solving, inspire them to create their own strategies for solving the problems facing them, and teach them to see change as a positive part of life.