I was bored in school.
It's true. I didn't feel like the school system was designed for my learning style. It wasn't until college where I could pursue my passion, making films, that I found my way.
Recently on Edutopia.org, we published observations from 8th graders about what they believe creates an engaging learning experience. Their answers were straight-forward and definitive: project-based learning, technology, and an enthusiastic teacher. I couldn't agree more.
Today, with the power of the Internet, we are experiencing a force that is revolutionizing education and offering opportunities to reach and engage diverse learners like me. When technology is deployed effectively, it can free up teachers from standing in front of the class and presenting information. We can "flip" the classroom with lectures occurring at home via the Internet and rigorous project-based learning taking place in cooperative groups at school. In this environment, teachers can be guides and coaches to the students. What is more powerful in education than a student who is guided by an adult who truly cares -- someone who knows your name, who encourages you, and is committed to your success in life?
By learning about and replicating strategies that work in education, we have the potential to transform our schools. By creating strong cultures of creativity and curiosity, we can engage students as active participants in their own education, rather than passive recipients of facts and formulas. In a world where information is at our fingertips, our greatest challenge is help students learn how to find information, assess its accuracy and apply it to solve problems. All around our country and the world, there are teachers and schools succeeding at the task, many featured on Edutopia. Here is a recent video which shows a once failing middle school in Charlotte, North Carolina, that invested in research-based teaching strategies and is now on the rise.
There is no other job more important than education. It is the foundation of our democracy. By seizing on what's working, and recreating those successes from one classroom to the next, we can make it better for everyone.