Monday, March 12, 2007

Sheryl Nausbaum-Beach

Sheryl delivering her keynote Delegates in Invercargill

Unleasing Student Passion

I'm sitting in the Ascot Hotel in Invercargill after a three hour bus trip from Dunedin listening to Sheryl talking about the flatness of our world. She says 'there is one language that we're all speaking, and that is the language of the 21st Century'. This is a statement I would like to think about and unpack a bit more. Students need to learn how to be communicators in a world where traditional communication with text is reducing and communicating creatively with images, sound, collaborating on the web and interacting globally is common place. The value we place on creativity needs to be looked at in our classrooms.

We have the access to transformational technologies - the power to transform. We are the generation of educators that are going to redefine teaching and learning. Wow! It is really exciting to be on the cutting edge and to have a say in how education is changing. We need to realise that we are not just adding to what we already do but we are transforming - changing - the way education is happening. Think of the changes in the world pre printing press and post printing press - pre television and post television. This is transformation.

Sometimes I wonder if I am running too far ahead. Is it only the elite or privileged that are using this technology? We keep saying that students are out there using this stuff, but are they? I know that my own children are and I know that their friends are. But what about those students without the financial access to this technology? No! This makes it even more important that these students are exposed to this technology in their schools. We need to address the balance.

Sheryl asks:

"How do schools need to change in order to meet the needs of the 21st Century students?"

"How do we prepare students for jobs that don't yet exist?" Is that what we are really doing? We need to prepare students to be successful people not working machines.

"What do you really need to know if knowledge is only a click away?"
Think about the fact that knowledge is power but now we are all knowledge creators and can access knowledge at a click. Students have the future at their finger tips - David Warlick talked about 'clickability', how students already think that everything they need is a click away, they even think their parents are clickable. Students now expect to have the power that knowledge provides. How dare we stand in the way of that!

"How do we balance safety and access in order to empower our students with technology?" We need to teach students to be ethical users and consumers of this knowledge and content available for them.

"Are we ready for 21st Century teaching and learning?" When I think about the fact that I have had computers in my classroom for the last ten years it is scary that we are still asking this question and that there are still classrooms without computers, digital cameras or projectors?

We need to rethink the definition of 'school' 'teacher' and 'learner' to address the needs of 21st Century teaching and learning.

You can't give away what you don't own - Great statement! If you are not really sold on the powerful uses of technology then you can not give it away to your students.

Recommended reading: A whole new Mind - Daniel H Pink

To read more about the discussions taking place in TUANZ conferences around New Zealand you can vist the wiki:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the post and for your incredible workshop. People are still talking about it. I hope to see you again before I leave New Zealand- I would love to have a chance to sit down and talk.

Anyway, I have added you to my feed and will be reading much more-- I am looking forward to growing from all you have to share.