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Yesterday Brian Smith posted a question on his blog asking what an intelligent classroom might look like. I loved the question because I am in the process of pulling together questions I would like asked of prospective new administrators in my district and I definitely want this to be one of them. I responded to Brian with these thoughts
I agree with Sue and Sherry regarding administration supporting teachers and also having an understanding themselves of what an intelligent classroom looks like. We all battle the filter issue and it is a headache, we do need to teach students how to be responsible online citizens and you can’t do that if you can’t get to where they live in terms of their online lives. As far as what an intelligent classroom might look for me here are my thoughts.  I would add DVD players, digital cameras, video cameras, microphones, speakers, document cameras, airliner slates to use with smartboards, amplification systems for teachers, cable television, projectors in every room or TV’s capable of connecting to a computer for access to display content. Access to skype on school computers for collaborative conversations with classrooms around the globe, access to royalty free images, audio, and video to use in projects such as podcasts for redistribution. Just a few on my list of what a classroom rich with technology would have. In thinking more about it in the past day I would also add webcams or other equipment to make video conferencing a possiblity and a telephone either cell or landline. Have you ever thought of what a technology rich or intelligent classroom would look like in your eyes? Please leave your thoughts if you have I am interested in adding to my list.

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http://xtralean.com/IWOverview.html – This imaging software is free for the Mac and version 3.2 works with Flickr, SmugMug and ImageShack. A few of the new features, add talking balloons to images, resize, rotate, crop, flip, layer and transparency control. Drag and drop controls of import and export, frame images with shapes and borders. Being called a bloggers best friend C/Net Editor’s Review, take a look. I know we will look at this for our images as a way to provide resources for students and teachers at no cost to the district.

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How do we teach 21st century skills? How many in our districts know what those skills are? There are many conversations taking place filled with talk of these skills and how important they are for our students to learn, but who will teach them and where does the knowledge come from? Have you had those conversations in your districts and do you feel your students are learning what 21st century skills are and why they need them? 21st century learning takes place in part through constant communication with others,  understanding how to distinguish right from wrong/truth from fiction in the vast knowledge base of the internet. We must be able to decode what we read, hear, and see, evaluate information, organize it, make sense of it, in terms of our learning frameworks. Who does this in your district? I know this is an area I struggle with in mine. I believe we miss the mark in teaching students what being a digital citizen means, and also in understanding what skills digital literacy encompass.  I believe we have an obligation to students to prepare them for their future and their future includes all of these things. Teachers still have students search google for information, mind you nothing against google, but what about trying to scaffold information for them as Joyce Valenza talks about with creating wikipaths, what a great idea! I have teachers say they are tired of students just regurgitating in a paper what they have been told in class, yet there are no conversations about changing assessments away from paper and pen into something the students may find more engaging such as podcasts, or videos, or using wikis or blogs to express themselves and through the use of these tools develop authentic learning in the classroom. As Marco Torres has said we need to allow student work to have wings. How do you allow students work to have wings in your districts? Who teaches 21st century skills in your schools? Are there conversations taking place where you teach about what skills students today need to be successful in a future we cannot predict? Their world will be vastly different than the one we have grown up in, are we preparing them well?

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