About five years ago, I had the privilege of attending the NYSCATE conference in Rochester, New York. Sylvia Martinez, known for her work with a non-profit organization called Generation YES, participated in a panel discussion and made a statement about 21st century learning that has stuck with me.
“If you can Google it, you shouldn’t be teaching it.
Think about all of the Googleable content we have taught our students in the past two hundred years. Before the internet, it was acceptable and expected that we taught students to learn states and capitals, memorize historical dates, and spell lists and lists of words. Today, this information is not only Googleable; it requires low level thinking from our students. With the Common Core Standards, teachers are committed to teaching differently, and thanks to the availability of technology in our district, teachers are finding themselves making this shift quite naturally.
With Google and the internet at the tips of every students’ fingers, it’s hard to argue against moving away from Googleable content and toward deeper thinking that come from tasks involving the four c’s of 21st century education: creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. One way we are supporting our teachers to develop these engaging tasks is by exposing them to the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model this year, a framework created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. The SAMR Model will be used to help teachers evaluate their use of technology in the classroom with the ultimate goal of transforming student learning.
Now that the technology is in place in the classrooms of District 109, we have an incredible opportunity before us. We will be redefining the way we teach today’s students. This is no longer the classroom of our childhood; it is the classroom for our students’ future. Our teachers are moving away from teaching Googleable content. They are moving away from low-tech activities that do not engage, inspire or empower students. With 1:1 learning environments in every classroom across the district, our teachers are moving away from the past as they prepare our students for an unknown tomorrow.