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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Pencil Labs

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I wrote this article in April, 2009 and thought that I would share it here, hopefully to generate some discussion. How bizarre would it be if a school had a pencil lab? You know, a place where classes went to use pencils, instead of having pencils available in the classroom. What about a textbook lab? Should schools have "pencil teachers" or "textbook teachers"? If pencil labs/teachers and textbook labs/teachers sound so ridiculous why do we still have computer labs? As the First Decade of the Twenty First Century comes to an end we've come to a point when technology (computers) should not be seen as something separate from the core curriculum. Students should not leave their core subject area class to go to another room for instruction on computer technology. Instead education in the use of computers should be integrated into core subject area learning. All teachers must possess the knowledge and expertise to help students think about using this technology in the most effective ways to master core standards and objectives. Effective teachers must ask themselves three general questions when they develop their lessons. 1. What objectives should students master in this lesson? (This includes both knowledge and skills.) 2. What do students have to do in order to master these objectives? (Given that it is almost 2010 educators need to think in the Twenty First Century. This means that they should naturally consider the use of computers as one category of options. Of course some things would be better learned kinesthetically. Other objectives might be better learned in quiet reflection, or in group work. Remember that not all students learn in the same way!!) 3. How can I determine whether or not students have mastered these objectives. (Again the use of Twenty First Century technology can support effective evaluation.) Just a thought!!

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