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In New York, Gov. Wise Calls For Focus On Teachers As ‘Educational Designers’

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September 23, 2011 08:30 pm


At the New York Times’ conference on education and technology yesterday, Bob Wise — president of the Alliance and former governor of West Virginia — said the United States is entering the phase of “Web 3.0,” a new era focused on how to effectively use technology in the classroom by emphasizing the teacher’s role.

While in the past digital learning had often been limited to a virtual world used by homeschooled students or those with special needs, it has become more of a blended-learning model used by students in traditional schools. Wise said America is moving on to an important third stage: conversations are now focusing on how technology can empower teachers to become “educational designers” by using their professional expertise to help students learn in a personalized manner.

“For the first time we’re talking about the serious role of the teacher,” Wise said. “The teacher has always been involved, but in this “Web 3.0,” it’s high-tech equals high teach […] Teachers are designing a path for each student in that class — that is a professional responsibility. Teaching doesn’t become less, it becomes more in this world.”

Wise made these remarks at the New York Times’ “Schools for Tomorrow” conference during the last session entitled “Closing Debate: The System,” moderated by Times columnist David Brooks. Wise was joined by fellow panelists Greg Butler, worldwide education strategy director for Microsoft, Shelly Esque, president of Intel Foundation, Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Joel Klein, chief executive officer of the education division at News Corporation.

Live Brooks started the session by raising questions about the effectiveness of technology in the classroom.

Wise responded by saying that it is vital to realize simply purchasing technology and putting it in front of students will not show results — it is instead necessary to develop a comprehensive strategy that teachers help to create in order to use the technology effectively. Wise noted the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning, which serve as a roadmap for state and school district officials.

“You cannot just layer netbooks on top of textbooks,” Wise said. “You must come up with a strategy involving teachers.”

Wise and the other experts on the panel agreed America’s education sector is operating in an old, broken model that needs to come to terms with the modern world.

“Using technology can free up teachers to do what teachers do best, to figure out what is best for each student and apply their craft and skills to help them,” Wise said.

To view the entire panel discussion, click here.


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