The world is changing at an increasing pace. Pedagogy and instruction must support the teaching and learning of key 21st century skills: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, innovation, and real-world problem-solving. Today’s digital world requires a flexible and responsive educational system to ensure students are successful leaders in a globally competitive and ever-evolving workplace. Administrators, teachers, students, and parents alike are facing a paradigm shift, and need a powerful set of strategies and applicable training to make this shift happen.
It is critical that the nature of teaching change to leverage the value and efficiencies of technology and digital resources. The era of educators as the primary source of knowledge has ended with the birth and development of the Internet. Today, we must aggressively pursue strategies that allow educators to become facilitators and guides for learning. We must also use technology to free teachers from tasks they no longer need to perform because technology can perform those tasks (e.g., developing curriculum, managing paper-based curricular resources, performing certain types of paper-based assessments, and manual calculations for grading). Technology can accomplish these tasks much more efficiently and allows teachers to dedicate their time to the high-value aspects of instruction, which includes building strong and engaging relationships with their students.
There are many low-cost ideas that should be explored including the “flipped classroom,” which moves the traditional knowledge transfer task such as the lecture to a digital homework assignment done outside of class. This enables the educator to personalize learning in classrooms through observational assessment and coaching. It also enables students to engage in reciprocal learning activities where they learn from each other.
Our vision for future pedagogy and instruction requires that each of the digital elements described in the plan be appropriately implemented as well. If digital curricular resources, technology devices, bandwidth and network access do not become commonplace throughout Wisconsin schools and communities, this vision for a transformed instructional approach cannot be realized. Most importantly, it is essential that we place a high value on the professional development needed to build the capacity for our educators to make this change.