In order to create students that grow up to be leaders, schools need to start thinking about the skills they impart a whole lot differently. At least, that's the thinking of Andy Crozier, principal and superintendent at Andrew Community School District in rural Andrew, Iowa, who has spent much of his education career working with school administrators to develop and implement programs that put technology into students' hands.
Today's schools, Crozier says, need classroom environments that encourage a raft of new academic and leadership skills tailored to the 21st century world they will someday inhabit—and lead—including creativity, innovation, and new learning experiences. They need to give students ubiquitous access to technology and train teachers for new roles as facilitators.
The best way to accomplish this, he asserts, is by "removing obstacles that get in the way of kids taking ownership in learning and technology." That means letting students drive projects normally reserved for adults and giving them a greater sense of freedom, especially around technology. The Apple distinguished educator recently spoke with T.H.E. Journal about what, specifically, schools can do to develop leaders, encourage innovation, and create real 21st century learning environments.
While technology has the opportunity to really drive learning, Crozier explains, too many schools go overboard with restrictions that actually stifle student understanding.
"They filter everything out," he says, in regards to internet use. While this is a common and, to some extent, legally necessary practice, Crozier notes that blocking too much content online also ties student's hands, prohibiting them from exploring beyond the confines of a given assignment. "Administrators tend to preserve the status quo. We know how to implement and support [the safeguards], so it's easy not to take the risk," he says, "but that doesn't mean it's what's best for kids."
Source: THE Journal