This week we had the pleasure of Skyping with George Couros, a principal at from Stony Plain, Alberta. George is a breath of fresh air in our education world who seems to "get it." George understands that children are at home playing XBox360 on their 70" tv's and then coming to school and trying to learn by reading out of textbooks that are older than their parents. It just doesn't make sense.
George is a huge believer in making the learning meaningful and authentic for students. The best way to do this is to allow students to tap into the social networks that exist on the internet. These networks allow us to speak directly to the experts on a topic. Why learn about an elephant in a book when a student can speak with a zookeeper or elephant specialist directly?
In today's world, we are still teaching students to put together projects on chart paper when in the real world employees are using sophisticated presentations using technology. What do you think your boss would say if you walked in to a meeting to give a presentation and you presented your information using chart paper and markers??
Mr. Couros went on to talk about the importance of students accepting responsibility for their actions online. If students are able to hide behind a fake name on the internet, what are we teaching them about accountability? For this reason his students use their first name, last initial and year of birth for their screen names. This forces students to be aware of what they are posting online. Absolutely brilliant!!
I began following George on Twitter and I am trying to look more into some of the links that he shares with his network. This is how we are going to learn as teachers. Why should I have to go out into the workforce and start from scratch when we have wonderful teachers like this that can model for us how to be a great teacher??
George has a blog that you should really check out: http://georgecouros.ca. Another interesting site is http://connectedprincipals.com. This site is comprised of different principals around the world that share ideas and experiences.
By far my favorite speaker to date.