When speaking of the needs of students and schools many of us use the experiences of our own school days as a baseline for understanding. This type of thinking is quite natural and is important to preserve traditions and values. Let’s face it, our experiences in school are part of our culture.
Many times those same experiences convince us that we should teach children the way we were taught. That way of thinking is the philosophy of “it worked on us so it should work on today’s student”. The reality is change is inevitable and always relying oh what worked it the past does not promote creative solutions to today’s issues.
One of the major challenges in education is to make change when it is necessary or required by legislation. The real test is to effectively evaluate plans or products that impact change. When using tax payer dollars to purchase items or implement plans it is essential to “get it right” the first time and all of the time. There is a tool that is new to public schools in Texas called Project Share.
It is a Texas Education Agency initiative that supports 21st Century learners and educators and is free to public schools. It is a tool that will impact the way teachers educate and how students learn if it is implemented correctly and responsibly.
Project Share is an electronic portal that allows educators (and very soon students) to develop electronic portfolios, participate in online courses and professional development, contribute to professional learning networks, utilize electronic storage space and access electronic textbooks and open source content.
This past week the first SXSWedu conference featured Project Share to the world. Rockdale ISD was asked to participate because of our early involvement with this tool. Kathy Pelzel and Rebecca King presented a fantastic workshop that provided practitioners with a toolbox of ideas and plans for using Project Share.
It was very well received by the standing room only crowd in the 200 seat presentation room. The next day I had the privilege of participating in a live video question and answer session with superintendents from Texarkana ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.
How exciting that the very popular SXSW organization is now involving education as a part of its activities. Most importantly for our students is that Rockdale ISD has the educators willing to use a 21st Century tool with potential to make teachers better educators and students better learners in our global environment.