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Changes for the teacher
share more with my
colleagues, and give
As a middle school math teacher for many more to my students.
years, I have worked hard to get students to Teachers right-
recognize the value of math and be excited fully point out that
about learning it. My own interest in tech- this style of instruc-
nology, combined with a personal drive to tion requires a sig-
make math more meaningful for students, nificant investment
led me to use twenty-first-century skills in of time and energy
an effort to increase student engagement in in a teaching cli-
learning. mate that already
The change in my teaching style didn’t has us stressed to
happen overnight, but the process of creat- near breaking. Most
ing a twenty-first-century learning envi- packaged curriculum
ronment has really pushed me to reflect on series don’t incorporate twenty-first-
what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Cre- century skills, so a lot of lesson develop-
ating a PowerPoint and running through a ment has to occur before the curriculum is
lesson by giving examples and providing ready for students.
guided and individual practice was the The need for digital-age literacy also
standard I worked by, but it wasn’t until brings a new dimension to teaching and
As I learned,
I began to incorporate more twenty-first- learning, providing impetus for creating
I was able to share
century learning skills that I saw students more learning opportunities with interac-
get excited about what I was teaching. tive communication and the use of techno-
more with my
Students were asking more questions and logical tools.
colleagues, and
talking about math in the hallways and Assessment of these skills adds an addi-
give more to my
during lunch. Students were engaged in tional challenge: in particular, traditional
learning, making more connections among assessment methods are ineffective for many
themselves and with the larger world of those skills. With these hurdles in mind, it
around them. What they were learning is clear that districts need to provide teachers
was making an impact, both for them and and schools with some kind of help.
for myself.
It’s a challenge to manage thirty stu-
dents in an interactive environment. It’s
Teacher support is crucial
a lot more talkative; there are technical
challenges; students move at different Teachers need support in learning how to
paces; and the energy level in the class is use and teach both new tools and software.
a lot higher. repeating that for six periods Ideally, a master teacher with technology
a day, I would often go home exhausted. skills and experience should be available
But when I heard the “average” student at each school to provide “just-in-time”
after school talking excitedly about what training and support. research has shown
he or she had been doing in my class that that professional development is most
day . . . that was getting me pretty darn effective when it is provided in an on-
excited too. As a secondary benefit, I’ve going, as-needed, when-needed basis.
learned a lot. I have had to learn about My district has answered this need
graphing calculators, dynamic statistics through the creation of Curriculum and
modeling software, and motion-sensing Technology Integration specialists (CTIs)
probes, none of which existed when I was at each site, and that is my role this year.
a student in school. I’ve had to learn to In this role I provide immediate profes-
manage students more effectively as they sional development on curriculum and
work in groups, and had to develop bet- technology integration for teachers during
ter questioning skills so that I could help the lesson and unit planning stages, and
students move towards the learning goals am available to go into other teachers’
I had set for them without giving them the classrooms to model how to teach within a
answers. And as I learned, I was able to twenty-first-century learning framework. I
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