I got an invite yesterday to join in on a WorldBridges session with 8th grade students of Lee Baber (Western part of Virginia), Paul Allison (New York City), and Madeline ? (also new York) in completely chaotic, open discussion about "the future of school"
Jeff Lebow coordinate the magic on WorldBridges between a live uStream from Lee’s class, from me at my home office in Arizona, and on Skype audio with the others.
It sure is not the 8th grade I experienced, and I am glad to see how much has changed. These are some motivated kids.
I’m not sure I did much here beyond tossing out some questions– 8th grade student energy, if harnessed, could likely lessen our dependence forever on fossil fuel ;-)
What I learned by listening:
* Teachers make the difference to these students
* Use of technology is important
* They are incredibly curious about each other
* They acknowledge the potential for virtual schools, but relish the social aspects of being together
* They are interested in more flexible timing for going to school (one young woman wanted night school ;-)
* They want to know more about the world outside of their own
* they bond over common online interests- from the Bronx to a rural community in Virginia, they shared a common world (Runescape)
* For a number of them, doing things “outside” e.g. not on a computer, are very important
* They are seriously worried about the future, global warming
* They have no problem with dealing in these chaotic, loosely structured conversations and places
The future looks rather bright indeed.
Thanks Lee, for letting me hang out.