This year, our theme for our county’s schools is “Achieving Creative Prepared Students.” It says we will achieve this goal by equipping the students with critical thinking skills and standards of learning. We will train them to be inquisitive and analyze information and provide high quality education with a wide range of options. With a positive reflection, I love that they used the word Creative in a public forum. I would have liked if they had said “Preparing Students for Creative Achievement.” It would sound as if they believed creativity is an achievement. I would guess they that they consulted exactly “0” creative people to come up with their statement. Again on the positive side, it is as if they are balancing each right brain pursuit with a left brain one. However, they are not giving up the old school approach for a new one yet.
Our county’s theme does not address the need for students to be global communicators as stated in Julene Reed’s (2007) article, Global Collaboration and Learning: How to create a world of success without leaving your classroom. Our students are going to have to adapt to globally changing markets and workplaces. It is going to take ingenuity and creativity to meet the unknown challenges of the future. Reed (2007) states global ingenuity can be achieved by technology infused resources such as: E-mail, Digital Photography and Digital Storybooks, Digital Video and Digital Storytelling, Instant Messaging, Blogs and Forums, Wikis, Websites, Podcasts, Video Conferencing and Web Cameras. Learners can go out and meet the world in an internet safe environment. They can develop 21st century skills for global collaboration. These skills link directly to the C of Howard Gardner’s, (2008) Five Minds for the Future. Learning about the lives of others, they can appreciate another’s perspective and human condition which fosters empathy. They can respect other cultures and views even if they don’t agree or participate in them. With empathy, they can consider the ethical implications of their actions and others.
With my students, I currently utilize digital photography and visual storytelling daily. We use the virtual student web art gallery, Artsonia. This website makes use of parent e-mails to inform them of the publishing of their student’s artwork. My colleagues and I use instant messaging to collaborate on school projects and Sharepoint to share and edit common documents. We have used blogs in the past but real time communication resources have taken precedent. Even though our county website does not mention these globally connected communications and collaborations, we are making fine use of them and the development of the “Respectful and Ethical Minds.” (Gardner, 2008)
Gardner, H. (2008). Five minds for the future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business.