Surrounded by farmland and ranches, Colorado’s Edison School sits off an unpaved road, with tumbleweeds blowing across its dirt parking lot. As recently as a few years ago, many families relied on solar or wind power instead of electricity; today, many still haul home their water from wells. Principal Rachel Paul estimates that 25 to 30 percent of her students don’t have Internet access at home.
Yet at Edison — where about three-quarters of the 120 K-12 students are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch — there are as many computers as there are students. On one recent day, Paul Frank’s fourth- and fifth-graders started off by learning about latitude and longitude on Google Maps and ended sprawled around the classroom on laptops, putting together presentations about the Midwest. While one student searched for photos of famous people born in Minnesota and Wisconsin, another used Google to find out Nebraska’s annual rainfall.
"President Obama has a goal that 100 percent of students should be college or career ready, and in the next decade, most jobs will require at least some post-high school education. The opportunities for high school graduates are declining and generally offer lower earning potential. But are we educating students with the right kind of post-secondary education to meet the demands of the workforce of the future?"
It's not enough to take a traditional K-12 classroom and fill it with technology. The smart classroom requires a more methodic approach that factors in the design of the basic shell, the teacher's space, and the students' independent and collaborative work areas.
Lisa M. Dabbs M.Ed. (@teachingwthsoul on Twitter) is the facilitator of Edutopia's New Teacher Connections group. She is also the founder of the weekly #ntchat for new teachers on Twitter, and blogs about supporting new teachers at Teaching With Soul. Monday May 7 through Friday May 11, 2012 is National Teacher Appreciation Week; a time to pay tribute to teachers and, as shared by NEA, a time to "honor local educators and acknowledge the crucial role teachers play in making sure every student receives a quality education." We know and recognize that there are many teachers in our past who have given their hearts, minds and souls to nurture in us the things that they saw as vital to our education, critical to our success, and important for our future. In keeping with that theme, I want to take this time to celebrate and share with you The Magnificent 7 -- teachers from my past who inspired me, and gav…