I had the fortune of attending an Advis tech retreat today, The Changing Landscape ~ Balances and Trade-offs for the Future, where Marc Prensky spoke about improving educational systems for the future of our kids. Most fascinating to me was Prensky’s focus on students; he suggested that we as educators need to involve students more in all things education, including professional development.
The ingenious portion of Presnky’s presentation was the panel he formed in which students from area schools responded to questions such as What do you want more of in school? What is your biggest challenge with technology in school? What is the best use of technology in your school? Student answers were compelling; they reflected intelligence, thoughtfulness, and creativity in many different ways.
When Presnky spoke about involving students in professional development, I thought back to an Alan November Leadership Webinar I had attended earlier this year in which the same suggestion that students be involved in staff development, was initiated. Initially, I questioned both presenters about this point of view; I’d always considered professional development to be about pedagogy, not about the technology or tools. I thought… how can students possibly influence the edification of teachers? And yet, after witnessing such a poignant display of student passion in the Prensky panel, and in addition to some internal reflection, I’m much more open to involving students in how we approach professional innovation. I’ve been a huge supporter of teachers teaching teachers for many years, but now I’m also a supporter of students sharing with teachers…
While catching up on Twitter last night, I came across Seth Godin’s blog post Broken Events, which offered further justification for the student voice in professional development. He discusses letting students run their own graduation, as many of the obligatory speeches or events we take part in are often more boring than engaging, with participants sending out emails or tweeting on their mobile phone throughout…Most of us can cop to such an act…heck, I did it today, and I’ll certainly do it again.
I tweeted during the retreat that my biggest takeaway was that we need to involve students more in what we deliver to them everyday…How powerful would it be to form a panel of our students whose sole purpose is to share with us what we are lacking, where we are failing, and how we can improve? Feel free to share your feedback via the comment field below, a Tweet, or an email.
Sticking with the student theme, I’d like to share the following video from Edna Sackson’s blog post What is Creativity?