An educator must bring to the “table” many innovative ideas, academic achievements, an abundance of collaboration, and initiative. As schools drive forward into the 21st century, the need for students to obtain high levels of success has never been greater. Standards and reforms have helped to reshape the way we educate our children. As educators experience different aspects of education, it has placed them in a position of viewing, which pedagogy is most pressing, to achieve higher levels of learning, develop critical thinking skills in students, and offer opportunities for blended learning. High stakes testing has also brought accountability in many aspects to the classroom. Teachers along with administrators necessitate that formative assessments are utilized to provide gains in the learning environments. Assessments are needed in developing lesson plans that fit the needs of many students that are now educated in the public school system. Educators must be community oriented and know the stakeholders they serve; they must have a genuine feel for the community and not take a happenstance approach to the needs of that environment. In addition, educators must know the climate they serve: students, teachers, counselors, and other educators and from that develop a gauge on which ways things may need to change or stay the same. Finally, with the fast pace of technology educators must remain on top of new ways that technology can aid students in learning, from desktop computers, iPads, iPods to assistive devices that ensure our students with disabilities are receiving the best education possible for their futures. This includes a blended environment of academia, Career and Technical Education (CTE) and technology.
Academic, CTE programs, and technology-rich environments must become an initial part of a school’s curriculum plan. Components of academia, technology, and CTE should automatically take place in a few of the teacher’s lesson plans, academic, CTE, and technology related books should be available, websites for academic, CTE, and technology, and handouts that are germane to academic, CTE, and technology. Education is one of the most flexible entities and can change courses as needed. It is time to change the course on the way students receive their education. This is not a time of ominous speculation and obscurity but one of exultation and celebration to move the educational system in a different direction; one that combines CTE, technology, and academia to the student’s methods of learning, therefore, empowering students to reach their full potential. Students are then not left to their own devices in learning, but rather have the opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort. As such, the student’s learning assessment will need to be revised and tailored to fit group work, thereby allowing students to converse and participate with others in the same environment (Anderson & Elloumi, 2004). As the school system evolves, so too should options that would allow the focus of learning to return to its origin: the student. CTE and academia are similar to an ocean and its vastness. However, each ringlet of CTE and academia—has its own unique ideologies and must be addressed for the triumphant success of all students. As educators look for additional means to introduce students to academia and CTE, the participation in an organization is also an important component in allowing students to see how academia and CTE aids them in their future leadership goals. In the past decade, there has emerged a new urgency for technology education that centers on the global economy. Academia and CTE are now becoming part the global economy, and is viewed as a means of achieving workforce competencies in areas of critical thinking, solving semi-structured problems, and reasoning (Bybee & Starkweather, 2006). Now, more than any other time in history, technology has come to play a vital role in American education, and its emergence is shedding light on the omission of technology in K-12 programs (Bybee & Starkwater, 2006). That is, when businesses and industries began to consider the role of education in preparing a competent workforce for the twenty-first century, the crucial role of technology became even more apparent (Bybee & Starkwater, 2006).
The role of technology, it is very important to note meta-cognition, constructivism, experiential learning, and epistemology are essential components in technology-developed courses. Facilitations that utilize cognitive rich structures promote one of most powerful tools an individual can take complete advantage of in the learning environment. Incorporating technology into the world of the student consents to the student to see what true progressivism looks and feels like, allowing the student the opportunity to test and reflect on real life experiences. Technology plays a vital role in increasing a student’s level of achievement and motivation, and in effect helps to alleviate some of the dropout rates that have continued to plague the school system thus far, reason dictates there must be different pedagogical approaches to incorporating technology into programs of study, the likes of which are focused on experiential learning. This way, the student will be given the opportunity to see, from myriad angles, the relevance of learning itself. By shying away from the more antiquated methods of lectures and rote memorization, students will then become capable of translating schoolroom lessons into practical application (Gasper, Langevin & Boyer, 2008).
Finally, educators must find a way for all students to steer their own course through school, thus preparing them to steer their own course through life, this must be done without abdicating the requirement that all students meet the same high standards and must start as early as elementary school. Organizing coursework where the student is empowered gives them the tools to develop their own plans for their future. Along with the benefits presented above, students then become more than just receptacles to be neither filled nor damaged goods to be patched. Instead, educators and the community see them as the heralds of new ideas that bring strength and weakness to each of their experiences. Ideas than become sparks to start campfires, which can then light the darkness and warm those who are near and far. All students are viewed as future educators, artists, or stay home parents, who pass on the knowledge they have learned to their children. Educators and the community therefore must become more receptive to not only student’s thought processes but their thoughtfulness, their courageous dispositions, and character development that warrants them the best and fullest potential they can obtain (Hyslop, 2009).
My education consists of: Bachelor’s in Human Services, Teacher Certification-Type A for English, grades 7-12, Master's Degree in Career in Technical Education, Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, Master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, an e-Learning Certificate, a Superintendent Certificate, a Principal Certificate, and by the end of the year or 2011 an Ed.D in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning (I am the poster child for continuous education). Currently, in my classes, I am using several components of technology to abet in student learning/achievement. These items consist of: iPod, iPhone, Multimedia Projector, DLO Home System (a system that projects the images of iPod/iPhone through the MMP onto a larger screen), computer lab, computer cart, RSS, Keynote, PowerPoint, Blogs, Delicious, audio books, iTunes, podcasts, e-Pals, Nicenet.org, Easy Grade Pro, First Class, Adobe Professional, and Meta-web (a viable component in understanding the structure of information on the Internet). My participation in the TESST Project has helped my students with developing better writing and reading skills, and it is a system that many are already use to, since, we currently perform many of these same procedures in our classroom. Students and teachers are able to tap even further into their learning environments, and find even better ways to help all our students from English Language Learner (ELL) to Advanced Placement (AP) to acquire new ways of critical thinking, applying methods to new and old learned skills, and empowering and enhancing all pedagogies of teaching and learning.
Bybee, R., & Starkweather, K. (2006). The twenty-first century workforce: A contemporary challenge for technology education. Technology Teacher, 65(8), 27-32.
Gaspar, A., Langevin, S., & Boyer, N. (2008). Constructivist apprenticeships through antagonistic programming activities. Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology (2nd ed.). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Hyslop, A. (2009, May). Fostering partnerships between education, business and industry. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, 84(5), 42-43. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
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