on education

thoughts from a graduate student at the university of mary washington

group project reflection. week sixteen.

December10

We’re done!

The culminating project for this course was to design a 21st century school from the ground up. Decide the learning environment, funding, professional development, curriculum, assessment.. you name it. For those on the outside looking in (hi, nameless individuals out there in cyberspace), I should tell you that our class was really small. There were six of us. So, we busted into two groups, and so we had just two different approaches to this project. My group chose to design an elementary school, the other group designed a high school.

There were a few overarching similarities in our presentations. Our groups took the opportunity to move away from teacher-centered, static learning environments. We came up with schools that used progressive ideas like experiential learning and authentic assessment. We all agreed that technology would play a major role in our schools. The world is based on technology, and it’s important for our students to be well-versed in how to use it and apply it to their lives, jobs, and communities. Our ideas on professional development flowed in the same vein as well, but there were some key differences. Our group stressed the importance of ongoing, continuing education for educators, to include seminars, inservice training, and graduate level coursework. The other group really focused on assessment of teachers and how to use that to make them better at their jobs. It’s tough to compare our ideas on curriculum because of the vast difference of our school demographics, but one thing that both of our groups said would be key to a student’s success is project-based learning, specifically within the community.

After watching the other group’s presentation and listening to the input of our professor, I realized that we didn’t think enough about funding our school. And you can’t do much if you don’t have the money, right?! Our supposition was that we wouldn’t need a lot of it because of our innovative ways of using renewable resources to cut down on costs that can normally cripple a school. I suppose that relying on a lot of free money maybe isn’t the best option, though, especially when the population served is pre-k through 5th grade. In order to have the kind of community support our budget was counting on, we’d first need to have the community involvement that would come with our curriculum. Cart before the horse is what happened there, I think. I had a lot of fun watching the other group’s presentation, and it definitely gave me some ideas.

Here’s our presentation:

We did it on a free iPad app, so, excuse the volume issues and the crazy scribbling from my group mate, Cassie. 🙂

What do you think? Are we crazy? Overall, our goal is community-oriented. We wanted to involve and invest the community in our school, while using it to teach our students about the world in which they’ll be living and participating before they know it. We really took our renewable resources and sustainability seriously; we feel that it’s a key component of twenty-first century living. Our schooling has to mean something and be relevant to our students, or it’s not worth a dime. “Unquestionably, the goals of education must be relevant to the times. If the schools cannot adapt to changing conditions and social forces, how can they expect to produce people who do?” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).

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references:

Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

 

posted under EDCI 506
One Comment to

“group project reflection. week sixteen.”

  1. Avatar December 11th, 2012 at 1:10 pm ocostello Says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog posting. I too wrote about both groups funding challenge and think that all of us could have gone more in depth about the topic, but as we know from class that is one of the biggest challenges of all! I did really like your group’s ideas though; I think that a school that is more eco-friendly and uses natural resources is a step in the right direction! Great project! It gave me a lot to think about.


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