Letter of Intent by Mr. Goldstein
We as a nation are now embarked upon a new millennium, which promises to transform and uplift our society if only we can prove up to the challenge. One of the crucial challenges we are faced with is how to engage students to become empowered learners and strategic and effective thinkers.
Technology can be a key player in this transformation by offering processes and platforms that empower students to embrace a larger sense of self and experience themselves as creative players and agents of change in a global community.
Creativity is closely linked with Constructivism–the idea that we discover and create our own meaning from our experiences. Technology provides a platform for students to publish their creative work. Publishing is a strategy that nurtures the students’ conviction in the importance and urgency of their own ideas. Through providing opportunities for students to publish their work in extra-ordinary formats such as e-books, podcasts, videos, electronic portfolios, animation and websites, students learn that their work is important. Their work emerges from the hidden confines of the four walls of the classroom into the larger world outside, and can impact others who encounter it. Sharing their work with others through these various publishing venues can help inspire others on their own creative voyages.
In my Technology Education classroom at Omni Middle School, students have arrived to class eager to embark on their creative explorations each day. In contrast to classes such as mathematics that focus on convergent thinking in which the goal is to arrive at the right answer, the process students engage in as they create their own multimedia productions focuses on divergent thinking in which many solutions are possible. Students have taken ownership of their own learning process and assumed responsibility for developing their own ideas and making them work. They get instant feedback from one another as they bounce ideas off of each other. Their ideas for their multimedia projects are experiments that they try, and either see to completion or re-work as much as needed until their ideas bear fruit. They see their powers of expression amplified through technology as they interact with technology to create.
As a Technology Education teacher and Journalism teacher at Omni Middle School, I have developed curriculum aligned with State standards that have taught students problem solving and design skills as they have created multimedia projects to communicate their thoughts and ideas. I have collaborated with teachers on a school-wide level to showcase the talents and creative work of our students. As a Smart Ambassador for Project Smart, I have instructed teachers on how to use a variety of emerging technologies and how to plan and implement instructional technology projects in the classroom.
I am eager to do the same on a District level, giving of my talents and energies to bring our schools into the dawning of Web 2.0, in which students and teachers embrace a digital democracy of ideas, one in which students and teachers are not merely spectators but vital participants.