Reimagining Classrooms: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders | Kayla Delzer | TEDxFargo

you on the first day of school this year I had a little boy get up in my face and he screamed at me he said I hate school I hate teachers I don't want to be here I remember taking a calm breath finding my biggest smile and I got down on his level and I said I promise you're going to love school this year if we take a look at classrooms over the past 70 years we're seeing the same types of classrooms and the same types of learning environments spanning up to 70 years it is my goal to continually revitalize learning and the classroom this is a picture of my classroom this last school year I see classrooms differently these are some of my students I see my students differently and I see the way that they learn differently the results I get are incredible as teachers and educators we must embrace the students of today to reimagine tomorrow first we must wonder how we can release the power for as long as schools have existed teachers have been the main source of knowledge in the classroom teachers are the gatekeepers for pretty much everything that happens in the classroom we're in charge of everything that students do or don't do as teachers let's not misuse this power in 2015 we have far more resources available available at our fingertips than ever before this gives us the ability as teachers to make our classrooms less teacher centered and more student centered let's embrace that teachers don't need to master every single app or every single tool before we hand it over to students in my classroom I like to use a student's teaching students model so I will give an app or a tool to a student I will have them learn how to use it and then I'll have them go teach all the other students and myself how to use that app teachers don't need to master at all let's get kids involved with projects like genius our genius hours actually based on Google's 20% policy where kids would actually get one hour a week to study things that they are passionate about instead of telling them things that they have to learn every single day this really gives kids ownership in their learning and it makes it very relevant to them this also means that lots of the time my students are going to know more than me that's awesome embrace their knowledge and they'll embrace their learning second we must wonder how we can embrace purposeful technology using technology just for the sake of using technology is wasteful if it doesn't transform your classroom or your teaching or your learning just skip it don't use it if the same project can be done using paper or pencil it's not transforming your classroom always always always start with your purpose if something is boring on paper it's still going to be boring when you put it on an iPad let me tell you what I mean by that if I give my students a addition worksheet on paper they are going to think it is mind-numbing ly boring they're going to stare at me if I take that same addition worksheet and I put it on an iPad guess what it's still my numbing ly boring for them to do okay boring things on paper are still boring when you put them on an iPad even apps have different purposes now some apps are skill based and repetitive while other apps are actually project-based let's turn kids loose to go create something and not just play games if you actually have to leave your classroom to go to like a computer lab the technology is not at the point of instruction let's get technology in the hands of kids when they need it and where they need it this is a picture of a little girl in my class that I had this last school year her name is milena and milena is following along right now with a classmates recording of the book that she is reading she scanned a QR code taped to the back that book to access this recording this app transformed my reading block this app helped instill a love of reading and a sense of pride among my students not to mention my reading fluency scores improved exponentially third we must wonder what my mentor once told me he said Kayla don't feed the fears schools are still banning cell phones principles are still banning cell phones from teacher staff meetings schools are even building what they call these things cell phone hotels this is a real thing let me tell you how this works so when kids come to school in the morning they check their cell phone in at the cell phone hotel okay at the end of the school day when they're leaving they go home they get to check their cell phone back out of the cell phone hotel we have more technology in the palm of our hands now than what put man on the moon yeah we're telling our students leave your technology at home keep your mobile device in your locker are you hiding a cell phone did you check your cell phone into the cell phone hotel what are we doing schools in the United States are still blocking YouTube did you know that YouTube is the number one used search engine among students in grades 5 through 12 this is utterly incomprehensible so much learning is lost when we block all of these resources from our students we might think that we're protecting our kids when we keep them in this little bubble for eight hours of the school day but guess what these kids they leave they go home they graduate they try to get jobs if we block all these things from them and do it during the school day we're not protecting them we're actually hurting them we need to put kids in real world learning authentic environments during the school day and give them the tools that they need to be successful so that we can actually protect them for a lifetime while jumping in the new technologies or so so media can sometimes be scary we need to always keep in mind that if it's right for kids it's right sometimes the comfort level of teachers is less important than doing what's then doing what's right for kids my kids have never lived in a time without Wi-Fi or mobile devices my kids have never felt the pain of t9 texting they've never had to experience dial-up internet technology is the language today's students speak furthermore as educators it is now our job to be champions of digital citizenship 93% of employers now use social media in some way to either recruit or hire employees that means if our students leave us with a neutral or a negative digital footprint they have just a 7% chance of getting a job 7% my friend George curls challenges us as educators to make sure that every single high school graduate is well googled I challenge you to Google yourself go have your students Google themselves and like what they see what does your digital footprint say about you we must wonder as educators how we can make global connections it is now our job to make sure that we are connecting our students globally this probably sounds a lot harder than it actually is with now with just a few clicks you can do a virtual field trip to the Smithsonian Institute or you can bring your students on a virtual field trip to the Sistine Chapel learning is no longer limited to just our classroom or our school or our state or even our planet you can now take your students on a virtual field trip to the stratosphere here do a google hangout with a classroom in Hong Kong to expose your kids to new and different cultures give them the practice that they're going to need with the real life speaking and listening skills of the 21st century set up a classroom Twitter account have your kids tweet with experts from around the world like Brad Wade or Jen Jones have your kids tweet with other classrooms around the world to share and compare their learning don't be the four walls that hold your kids back or limit their learning break down those walls and go global we must wonder how we can reinvent the skills of today while standardized tests might have a valid place in our schools we need to start assessing teachers and students in other ways to assess my students on their creativity collaboration critical thinking and communication skills assessment kids on their grit and how they are and how they're able to find success through failure assess my kids on their digital literacy skills and other skills that they're going to need when they graduate to be successful employees citizens and innovative individuals in the real world assess me on how well I prepared my kids for their future when they leave my classroom while difficult to assess this should serve as our daily mission it should guide our teaching and learning values a compass for a true educational north okay everyone here's my challenge for you we are now 15 years into the 21st century we need to make sure that our schools and our classrooms are as engaging responsive and dynamic as the world around us here's my do you remember that little boy that I talked about at the beginning well his name is Christian he came to me that first day of school literally wanting to be anyplace else in the world but my classroom well on the last day of school Christian was crying out of control he was refusing to leave my classroom why because he didn't want to let go of our very last hug pretty different than the first day of school for the first time in his life Christian loved school he loved coming to school he loved learning he loved everything about being with me I saw amazing growth not only in Christian but in the rest of my students as well what doesn't often get talked about though is the impact that my students have made on my life every day my students taught me about humility and being a real and authentic person they taught me to have tons of patience they taught me to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at myself and so many more things technology changes the laws that we have will change the standards that we use to assess our kids are going to change again but one thing remains constant through time relationships between students and passionate teachers will always be the foundation of successful classrooms you

Maurice Vega

34 Responses

  1. Question, if any student fails an sol or graduation required class, are there alternative classes or tests other than retakes so the student can still graduate on time?

  2. I do not agree on technology enhancing learning for kids below 10 yrs (at least). It's only giving lots of information, but what imagination and creativity? Kids do get a lot of information, but to make sense of it, they need imagination and creativity. For very young kids, we need to nurture their abilities of imagination and creativity by giving them space and other natural methods. Boredom fuels creativity, then why this talk about boredom being bad for kids?? Absolutely rubbish talk!! She has not done enough of her homework.

  3. ahhh….I'm hearing the words and voice of a Leader in Me educator who not only believes whole heartedly in unleashing potential of her learners but…who teach the correct principles to follow…from the End in Mind (purpose) to releasing power and control…to giving kids the power and voice to lead…to having creating synergy (creative collaboration AND cooperation) to really giving learners that opportunity to have a class (and school) that acts like a compass/true north …I'm a fan of LIM and believe our world would be better off if we could get more people truly connecting to the CORE values, practices and principles that LIM teaches about. When done right…you have educators like Kayla setting a great example….when done incorrectly…well that's another story. But yes…she definitely sounds like she lives and models the Habits. Great speaker!!!

  4. I love that you say "Boring things on paper are still boring on an iPad". It proves that 'digital natives' is a farce – and I'm supposed to be part of that demographic. Electronic technology should be useful, not just a novelty.

  5. Teach kids fhe basics in the early grades. I do too not agree with every word, but she does make a few good points.

  6. Incremental change might get me to a place of comfort, then I'll be asked to change again out of my comfort zone, and again, and…we either evolve and expand, or shrink trying to navigate in a world we hardly recognize. To have the human factor available should be comforting to many individuals such as myself.

  7. To everyone that is saying that students will use technology negatively, yes. It is a possibility. It is also a possibility without it too. Do not judge a tool for the way students use it. Don't blame the tool, fix why they are using it in a negative manner.

  8. And, SHE is saying her kids have improved and that everything is great and hunky dory, but of COURSE she would say that. She is big upping herself. It should be up to others to decide the success or otherwise of her classes. I'm not saying she HASN'T been successful, but is her success objective and measurable empirically?

  9. "If it's right for kids, it's right"? Why? Who says? You say it and we just…BELIEVE it?? Define 'right'? Do you mean – if kids like it, then it's right? Kids like horror films and making mischief. Letting off explosives? Kids like martial arts movies. They like to put into practice what they see in movies. Is that 'right'? Gimme a break lady. Let kids have phones in class so they can text, surf the web etc when they should be listening or engaging in classroom activities? What planet is this?

  10. I agree 100%! Could I please have the source for the quote, "93% of employers use social media in some way to either hire or recruit employees"? I teach high school, and this could be a part of my "Why does Sra. Stuck do this?" answer set.

  11. The issue is not using technology in classroom (you know this as a teacher, I hope). But persuading your students to use it wisely for the planned lesson rather than snapchat and insta chats; that have made many of them obsessed with self image! I think the ideal would have been android devices (given from the school?) that have no mainstream social media rubbish installed but have lots of education apps. Then again the other problem is how do you deal with students who are not organised, destroy their equipment and they cant read or write properly because they are used to touch screens most of their lives (stylus maybe? e-caligraphy? etc). The entire curriculum has to be re-approached via media and apps and teachers need training on how to stimulate their 21 century classes in a meaningful way. Old fashioned diy transferable skills are still applicable no matter what century.

  12. Cellphones are addictive, they are drugs. And yet we throw it at them thinking these kids will use it wisely. They know more than us, how will they know to use it properly? They get abused in the classroom and are the cause of so many problems. Give students technology yes, but having safety blocks on them is not a bad idea. This woman has clearly not seen the issues that come from cyber bullying, texting through class, listening to iTunes while working and missing out on social interaction.

    I think putting away phones for the school day will help their social media footprint, not hinder it.

  13. Yeh.. You can create digital slaves with this types of education. Do you think how much knowledge is missing in youtube and google and so on? I think it is more than 99%.

  14. Yes! We should embrace change in the classroom. Let kids take the lead on things – we can learn from them just as much as they learn from us. Allow the flow of creativity without constricting students. Amazing TED Talk!

  15. "If it's right for kids, it's right !?"
    What is this suppose to mean ? children don't always know what's right from wrong, it's our duty to teach them what's right.
    And children will ultimately learn how to use google, youtube and other search engines without the need to teach them, it'll become their everyday life usage. My mom knew nothing about computers until recently and now she knows how to search in google and youtube.

  16. It is disturbing that a teaching methodology created by Marxists (Bill Ayers and Company) is not markets in such a dynamic and inviting way. Ms Delzer says our classrooms are "outdated" – yet 40 years ago the United States was number 1 in the world for math, science, engineering etc. With all of the "new vogue" educational methods, we have dropped out of the top 30. I think even Latvia beats us in math these days. This is the intentional outcome of these methodologies. Do your homework folks. This is nonsense. JG

  17. I am 110% in agreement, but how do you address standards, district and state assessments? These things aren't going away. How do teachers plan instruction that ensures the foundational skills are met? What are the teach to's for using technology? And what about our schools with little to no access? This is fantastic, and I think this teacher is incredible. But it this realistic, especially will all the mandates and inequality in education?

  18. This talk gave me chills… and hope… and inspiration as I continue to walk on my path as an educator. Thank you!

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