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I wrote this originally to teachers to set a broad perspective on meeting the challenges of today’s students. What do you think?

Whether we want to admit or not, we are in the midst of huge cultural shift in our society. Some have called these times of change as significant as the Renaissance.

This shift is evident in the exponential expansion of the media both in content and technologies. These effects are most obvious in the children we are now being asked to teach.

Teachers are at the vortex of this radical shift in our culture. Unless they respond with intelligence, creativity and commitment, their students will zoom past them ignoring their outmoded methods and approaches. They will find a way to become educated, as did pioneers who invented solutions to newfound problems.

“Our students have changed radically,” says Marc Prensky. “Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” –[www.marcprensky.com, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.”]

Teachers need to examine their current purposes and practices in light of the emerging information-age culture. They can no longer remain in isolated classrooms. Students can no longer be expected to work in isolation either. Instead, as teachers move toward collaboration and cooperation, students will need to be encouraged and supported in working together to learn. Already, students are instant messaging homework (some with their teachers!). Individual accountability will remain, yes, but it will come to mean something different. What, I am not sure.

Teachers need to collaborate and create ways for meeting today’s students where they are and nurture them to become good students, good citizens, and good people. This is not about indulgence. Teachers have much to offer – and they need to decide just what that is.

This is one of the many innovative ideas you can find in Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting students to Learn from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918.

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