We are working at a moment in history when education is changing. For more than one generation into the 21st century, adults have been trying to figure out how to create schools that reflect the changing society and culture. For those generations, adults have spoken of the need to create “21st century schools.” (I have a former colleague who would recoil every time she heard that phrase. “It’s too late,” she would say, “its going be over before we stop talking about building schools for it.”) These adults have been grounding all of their recommendations in old and outdated assumptions about teaching and learning and technology. Compounding the problems that arise from this is the rate at which everything changes—what we teach, how we teach, and the tools we have for teaching change far more rapidly than they did for previous generations.
What has become clear to me in the time since I began my career in the field, is the schools we need now, and that we will continue to need long after I have retired are will be places where great expertise comes together to create a place that cannot be created by any one individual. Our future schools depend on:
- Information technology that is always functioning and available to all students and teachers.
- Teaching and learning that is diverse and responsive to the needs to teachers and learners and that prepares all for the unpredictable future.
- Decisions made that ensure these schools exist and that all families can send their children to one of these schools.