Tuesday, 17 May 2016

As an educational consultant, I try to... (Part 9 and 10)

As an educational consultant, I try to predict the future and make sure that we design our schools and prepare our students for this future.  As said by others, it is a future that we have no idea what it is going to be like.  So, how can one effectively predict and prepare without accurate knowledge?  Work with what we know.  We are not in a factory era; we are in an information era.  We need to teach students how to answer questions, not content.  The information age presents way too much information to try to learn it all.  Students need to be equipped with skills that will allow them to find the answers to anything they want to know.

There are twelve points every educational institution and educator must understand to continue to be effective in the future.
The nine and ten point are:

Paperless schools

The concept of paperless schools is not a goal of the future it is here. There are numerous schools across the world which have effectively eliminated paper from the school environment. Technology and an ever increasing number of applications have made it possible to painlessly work towards the reduction and elimination of paper use in the schools. The installation of monitors in hallways and classrooms to share daily notices is a simple example of how it is not necessary to print out a daily notice sheet. The monthly school letter can be distributed electronically on the school website and via email. Scanners rather than printers, fax machines, and photocopiers will help achieve this paperless goal.

A paperless school will require technology for the sharing of information. TV monitors installed throughout the school and in classrooms can be used to share. One to one tablet programs can be used to share information which is done instead of photocopying notices and administrative procedures. Google offers many programs which can be used to store documents and create digital information and products. This will allow the students to share documents with each other and their teachers. This program will also need the educators to become trained in the use of Google tools.

Spiritual Cultural area

Space is needed within the walls of a school to allow the spiritual and cultural growth of learners. These areas should be very central in the school, so it allows them to help in the welcoming and spiritual atmosphere of the institution. The location within the building also speaks to the importance attributed to cultural awareness. These areas focus on cultural awareness, curriculum development, language learning, cultural celebrations, workshops, and the sharing of traditional life skills. These are only a few of the activities that could happen in the cultural area.

Cultural education and technology must be infused into the curriculum and not treated as a one-off or add-on. Master teachers and elders need space within these areas to allow them access to the students and to be involved in the development of curriculum and educational support.

A spiritual, cultural area or room should be one of the first things people see as they enter a First Nation school or Catholic School. A traditional public school should also have a welcome area of some sort in the entrance of the school. The welcome area should celebrate the culture, atmosphere or whatever the school stands for in the community. The cultural area should be a flexible area which can be adapted to necessary needs. The area should allow for cultural celebrations, workshops and other spiritual and cultural activities. For example in a First Nation School, it should include First Nations artwork and elements creating a welcoming and spiritual atmosphere. Dance, music and art all need to be a focus of the education within all Schools to allow for the promotion of the student’s culture.

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