Planning Good Change - Page 10 - Next Page

First Things First

This challenge should be about using new tools to help students master the key concepts and skills embedded in the science, social studies, art and other curriculum standards. It is not so much about powerpointing, spreadsheeting or word processing. The focus should be on teaching and learning strategies that actually make a difference in daily practice – on activities translating into stronger student performance. As a result of these practices and the use of these new tools, students should be able to . . .

  • read, reason and write more powerfully.
  • communicate productively with members of a global community.
  • conduct thoughtful research into the important questions, choices and issues of their times.
  • make sense of a confusing world and a swelling tide of information.
  • perform well on the new, more demanding state tests requiring inferential reasoning, analysis, synthesis and interpretation.

The above list reflects the high expectations of most states as they define educational purpose for this new century. A quick glance at state standards from states as diverse as California, New York and Oklahoma show that these goals resonate from shore to shore. Such goals also appear in Australia.

In Western Australia, for example, the curriculum frameworks lists thirteen Overarching Learning Outcomes (see opposite page).

Long before the design and installation of a network, a committee of educators should be asking how teachers might best develop such capabilities. In an earlier book, (McKenzie, 1993), I advocated an approach to goal setting called "Future Perfect District Technology Planning." An updated version of this approach has been included in the next chapter.

Once the goals and the outcomes are clear, the planning groups turn to the task of identifying the most promising practices and strategies to foster such growth. Most educators recognize that effective strategies are the crucial factor in shifting student patterns.

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Credits: The photographs were shot by Jamie McKenzie.
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