One of the reasons I love the Digital Age in education is how it has forced us to challenge conventional wisdom--one of my favorite hobbies. From infrastructure spending to pedagogy, the Digital Age has stirred the pot and made us question how and why we do things. Currently, my school is trying to decide what to do with spring parent/teacher conferences. Since every student has their own Macbook, students and parents check their grades daily online. I have exchanged emails or phone calls with most of the 7th grade students and parents. The 7th grade team has had dozens of parent meetings during the school day. Why do we need to schedule time to sit in the same room? Granted, some would benefit, but we are challenging one of the traditional pillars of education—something we don’t do enough of.
- Some of my class days are 'work days' for the kids, where I facilitate, but I could easily do this digitally--do we all need to be in the same room?
- How can teacher collaboration by grade/building/district and beyond be regularly scheduled? How long should the school day be?
- Do classes need to meet every day? Can all students handle the responsibility?
- I typically answer emails from students from 8-10 pm, should teachers keep virtual "office hours"? Would we need traditional P/T conferences at all?
- Do I need to meet with each class every day, if not, what would that mean for attendance?
- Are 9-week report cards obsolete when students/parents check online grade books 24/7?
- Are grades the best way to measure a 21st Century classroom?