What does a modern classroom look like ? What should / could a classroom to day look like ?

Here's the note I received asking if we'd like to take a look at this as a class:

Dear Adam,

We are working on an update of the state technology plan, and a chicken-egg question came up -- how do you ask groups about what is important in 21st century learning if they don't know anything about it?

I expect you have seen the "did you know" video. One idea is to make a Vermont "Did you know".

Another idea came up that might be of interest to you and your students (partners in crime???) -- how do we get students to participate in a survey about what should 21st century schools be like? If we had a nice you-tube type video with a link to a survey monkey page, we could get student voices in the state technology planning process.

Just a thought....send me some feedback and we can get more into detail.

Some of first thoughts / considerations:

What constitutes a modern classroom ?
What access should students have ? Filtering, email, web, computer access ?

Considerations in modern classrooms ? Here's a list of considerations in no particular order:

a. One-to-one computing: A laptop per student.
b. OpenCourseWare for high schools ? Useful ? Possible ?
c. Research Lab projects are currently archived. Should they be public ?
d. Student / Adult Collaboration sessions: Open troubleshooting.
e. Student help desk. Repair, imaging, assistance for users. Compliment hardware / networking course and placement for advanced students.
f. Student productions: iNews. Student driven content, produced by the campus.
g. One Class Idea: Taking a year-long block and combining courses in Research Lab, Independent film, Journalism. Others ?
h. In depth discussions on identity theft, searching, filtering, viability of research (summarized as media literacy ?)
i. Evaluations of modern web 2.0 technologies and mediums: YouTube, MySpace, Facebook etc.
j. Collaborative writing: With modern collaboration / online tools, collaborative writing is not only an option but could be in your future.

My questions are in brackets below. Post your thoughts and put your initials at the end of your post.

<<General input:>>

Here's my thoughts: The best type of learning happens on the student's own accord. The second that some "higher" being (aka a teacher) interferes, education takes on a different nature. I feel that knowledge should be free, and that we should be promoted by merit, and by how much we take the incentive to learn. If we do not initiate the process, there can be little benefit. Only the most motivated should command the most respect and power.

<< Question: Student access to email ?>>

Students should be able to access their school e-amil address and their "other" main e-mail. Maybe when you fill out the computer usage agreement forms you could write-in your 2nd e-mail address, and only have access to that one. You should not be able to make other e-mail accounts at school.smd

I also agree that students should be able to access their personal e-mail, along with their school e-mail, at school. Naturally, there should be some restictions to this and consequences, such as if you abuse this right you will lose access to your personal e-mail. I think that if we are mature enough to handle using our school e-mail acounts at school, using personal e-mail accounts should be no different. -NS

Every student is probably going to agree that we want to access our personal e-mails, too. And I don't see why not, either; if they're worried about us being distracted, then there shouldn't be computers in here in the first place. Christine

<< Question: Student access to the internet ?>>
Should be limited only by inappropraite language and nudity... kind of like a movie rating. Can access most to all internet sites and tools.smd

The internet can be very educational along with beneficial to learning. Inappropriate sites should be banned, but not all sites. By banning all sites I think the school is generalizing too much and saying that all sites are bad, which isn't true. Students should be able to access sites that conincide with there learning. -NS

It should, at least, be logical restriction. Currently the school is restricting every international site -- why? What about people studying foreign languages? What about the international students (like me)? Christine

<< Student access to computers ?>>>
i think that the one to one laptop idea is great. It would give students a chance to make school computers more personal (would like them more that way. It also eliminates the excuse of not having a computer.smd

I agree, the one to one laptop idea is a really good idea. It would allow every student access to a computer, regardless of whether they can afford it or not, etc. It would allow students to do homework on bus rides to sports games (which tend to take up a lot of prime homework time). Also, it would allow students to use their computers any other place they please that might serve as a better learning envorinment rather than at school or home, which are our only options currently. -NS

I'm still feeling hesitant about the idea of providing every student with a laptop. They did it in my school for one class, and students started busying themselves with their computer during breaks etc. instead of socialising with each other. It was pretty sad to watch that. Additionally, the teachers didn't make good use of the laptops, mostly they weren't being used at all. And there's problems such as the a lot higher use of energy and health issues to consider, too. Christine

<< What are your thoughts on how school uses technology ?>>

I think the 20/20 video was amazing. I did not quite follow all the tech lingo, but why can't we do that??
Loved MIT's set up on courses and readings!!!!!smd

I think schools could be doing a much better job of using technology. We're getting there, but have a lot more places we could go with it. I think more schools should set up a system like MIT did, it would be very beneficial and really make learning more fun since you can focus on exactly what subjects / courses you're interesting in. -NS

<< Are schools teaching 'media literacy' as I loosely defined above well ?>>
Yes, this is the basic outline of school use of technology smd

Yes and no. I think schools are teaching students about technology and advances in the world, but they could also do a better job of it. -NS