Deep Learning in a Digital Age

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the YRDSB/Ministry of Education’s Quest conference in York Region.
Alan November was the keynote speaker for the day. Mr. November was an entertaining speaker and brought attention to how technologies in this day and age are impacting us everywhere. However, to my mind, and apparently in the U.S., it doesn’t seem to be impacting classroom practice in the same way.
We are nearly 16 years into the 21st Century and it seems to me that classroom educators are still grappling with the same issues we were 10 years ago. I have to wonder why?
The message I heard yesterday and one I have been hearing for many years is that education has to change. I agree. I also think that education has changed, a lot, since I was a new teacher. I think Ontario teachers are well versed in differentiating learning for all students, they are expert in assessments as, of and for learning and they are adept at using a variety of IT tools that have become mandatory in order to work in the education system. So, I wonder, why does education still look the same?
I have a lot of ideas about why this is the case but I don’t think they would make me very popular, but what I read about reminds me that large systems are just not agile enough to meet the innovation and creativity that is required to meet the needs of today’s learners. We are still working within a pre-existing idea of what learning looks like and shifting this is like pushing rocks uphill!  Donna Fry posted an interesting reflection in her blog about Challenging the Status Quo.

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Using technology is only one piece of the puzzle, changing teaching methods, administrative models and the vision of what classrooms and indeed what school looks like has to accompany this vision.
Good teachers have always provided learning experiences that provide “Deep Learning”, Digital Age learning has to take what we know and do well and evolve towards what living and working in a digital age looks like.

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