Connected Learning: A Culture in Transition

I've been on a bit of a hiatus this summer and early fall, partly due to travel, both personal and professional, and partly because I've been collecting thoughts, resources, online mentors (yes, it's no longer necessary in this day and age to know or access mentors physically!), books, and blogs. I'm constantly amazed by the level of the free, online discourse on transformative education available to any of us today. For instance, two of my favorite independent school educators, Jonathan E. Martin and Grant Lichtman, are prolific bloggers and thinkers who are always challenging my understanding of innovation and pushing boundaries and opening up neural pathways in my brain. Another person I'm deeply intrigued by right now is the new Head of Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, John G. Palfrey. His blog and the work he intends to do with his faculty and staff at PA is going to be nothing short of revolutionary. PA's theme for the year is Connected Learning. Given John's previous focus, I imagine that the faculty at PA will be exploring digital connections both in and out of the classrooms, and how technology can be utilized to achieve time-honored pedagogical goals of developing excellence, character, and compassion.

At the 5th grade parent coffee today, we had a fascinating discussion about the appropriate role of technology today. Should students still learn how to use a physical textbook and paper planner? What is the purpose of each and how does a physical format facilitate acquisition of learning objectives different from an online or iPad textbook? How will we as teachers and as an institution assess our achievements as we allow more and more technology to infuse our classrooms? Expect more questions and thoughts and links to other writers on such topics in the near future.

We are clearly a society in transition; the only thing certain right now is more excitement on this journey.

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