By Sara Martin
The second DLE was held February 25 at beautiful Lake Las Vegas, 7 miles off the famous Las Vegas strip. The keynote speaker for the event was Leslie Wilson, President and founding member of the non profit One-to-One Institute.
The mission of the One-to-One Institute is to “increase student achievement through the development of learner-centered 1:1 programs that to serve as an international information clearinghouse for those interested or engaged in technology rich education programs. engage personal, portable technology. Our goals are to facilitate the personalization of learned and
Leslie began her message by stressing that 1:1 programs are NOT just laptops for kids but are about teaching and learning-transforming the learning environment from teacher centered to student centered. She shared pictures from classrooms that covered the decades of the 50s until the present that showed how teaching and learning have changed little over that time. Much of the instructional time in classrooms in spent like the decades of the past in what she terms, “Instructional approach 1″ where the teacher is the master and students are organized, usually in rows, to perform tasks assigned and directed by the teacher.
In “Instructional Approach 2″ a more personalized and student-centered educational experience is offered to students. Teachers facilitate and provide “just in time” instruction that support the standards and objectives of the lessons. Technology tools are used when appropriate and are also used for feedback and assessment. Class environments are flexible and can appear chaotic to outsiders as students collaborate and are engaged in a variety of tasks.
The ultimate goal to provide students the ideal environment for developing 21st century skills is “Instructional Approach 3″-an approach that finds student in complete control of their learning. In this environment individualized long term projects are the norm. Students find themselves immersed in virtual realities such as Second Life and other augmented realities. Teachers act as advisors and provide personalized direction. This is a true mobile environment that projects outside the 4 walls of the classroom via the power of technological connections and environments.
Instructional Approach 2 and 3 are major paradigm shifts that empower students to take responsibility for their own learning. They are encouraged to take risks. Practioners of this method note that students are motivated learners when they have choices in HOW they learn.
Leslie concluded her address by outlining the keys to successful 1:1 teaching and learning programs including a reference to “Project Red” a national research and advocacy plan that promotes the need to “revolutionize the way the U.S. looks at technology as part of teaching and learning. We believe that technology can help us re-engineer our educational system. Through the efforts of Project Red and our partners we believe that technology will transform learning, just as it has transformed homes and offices in almost every other segment of our society.”
Following Leslie’s keynote the participants broke into groups and cycled through classrooms. One group was treated to presentations in several disciplines that highlighted how technology can be integrated into the curriculum in powerful ways that propel students toward learning 21st century skills with Instructional 2 and 3 techniques and another group of IT decision makers looked at solutions and ideas for cloud computing, wired and wireless networking, as well as network security.
I’m looking forward to my next Digital Learning Environment adventure in San Diego on March 11, 2010. If you are in that area, or if you live near Atlanta, Boston, Washington DC, Indianapolis, Denver, Minneapolis, or Raleigh, please think about joining us at the DLE event in your city. These are amazing, FREE event. Find out more and to register for the events, visit: http://www.guide2digitallearning.com