Since the beginning of ETEC 533 I have continually wondered about changes in education and the implementation of technology to support learning in the classroom. I have enjoyed reading about Jasper Woodley, WISE (SKI) and LfU but keep coming back to the same point, these are not new methods of teaching math and science or STEM material. It is being presented as new and novel and I will admit it is new and novel for me. I am excited about incorporating constructivist teaching in STEM classes and integrating cross curricular activities with the material we have been reading about in module B. But, the ideas, research and case studies are not recent. Most were introduced in the late nineties and early two thousands, that makes them over 15 years old. Should this research not have already reached our classrooms? Should teachers not already be inserviced on these methods and confident about how to apply them in the K-12 classroom?
The bigger question that arises is Why does real change in education take so long? I have worked for two boards of education over my twenty six years in the classroom and both sound very similar to school districts around the country, that being boards constantly jump on band wagons of the next best thing but have no real understanding that long term changes are needed. Every year I am introduced to or asked to pilot a new language, math, science, arts, or technology program. Every year I take the time to learn and implement the new "format" or material only to have the board basically abandon it the next year for something else. As was mentioned in the WISE readings last week the case study involving the teacher "Alice" demonstrated that Alice was just getting comfortable with the different pedagogical techniques after the first year and it took two full years for her to say she felt competent. If this is the case with a teacher who was not only interested in a new teaching style and volunteered to learn about it and received specialized training how can we expect classroom teachers who have new programs thrust upon them with little to no inservicing to become comfortable and confident with any new material?
In my estimation programs like Jasper Woodley, WISE and LfU are needed in every classroom. We must teach our students the skills that are needed to survive today, not the skills that were necessary decades ago. How do we push these programs forward? How do we provide adequate training and most importantly get teachers to buy into these methods?