Guest Author, Dave Morris – Rocky View Schools in 2007 took part in a large consultation process to assist in the development of their three-year plan. At this time Rocky View Schools (RVS) overhauled their Vision, Mission, Motto and belief statements along with a re – branding. Additionally, this saw the development of a new logo and new mascot for the school jurisdiction.
The stakeholders groups were asked about current educational practice and challenged to determine what students needed for their learning for 2007 until 2011 and beyond. What we found was that students wanted education to be relevant and to engage them. Furthermore, the students needed to think critically, be self – directed learners and be contributors to the global community.
In response RVS developed its Portrait of a 21st Century Learner. This identifies the attributes students need to be successful in the future.
This three – year plan was highly successful. Recently, I was asked what would a person visiting a classroom today see that was different from three years ago. Once I started to think about the response to this question I realized RVS has changed dramatically. The facilities have changed, every teacher has a laptop and every classroom has an LCD projector. Students and teachers have access to digital resources to support their learning on a daily basis and many classrooms (600+) have access to interactive white board technology. Teachers can develop multimedia lessons on their laptops to be displayed on the interactive white board. Students can physically manipulate digital resources on the whiteboard surface. In our classrooms you can find iPads, iPods, iTouches, full wireless internet, video conferencing equipment, student laptop carts and a variety of computers. Our students have many more engaging learning opportunities.
However, other changes have struck me as equally important. This includes the learning and collaboration that has taken place among our teachers. Many schools have Wikis and Blogs that are used as professional learning sites for teachers to collaborate. Teachers are involved in Communities of Practice and ongoing professional learning. They are cooperating at a much higher level than before and their learning has been accelerated.
Yes, the classrooms of today are very different than three years ago. RVS as you know has started planning cycle two for a newly constructed three-year plan. This time we need to continue to enrich our learners by: Raising Consciousness, Focusing Attention, Triggering Imagination and Creating Meaning!