You may have heard of S.T.A.T., or Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow – the multi-year transformation of BCPS into a complete 21st century technology learning environment to prepare globally-competitive graduates.
At first read, this may sound like another language. After all, many of us went to school in the 20th century and it’s hard to imagine a different type of classroom. To put it more simply, we are asking teachers to make their classrooms more learner-centered, provide opportunities for students to develop 21st century skills, and leverage technology to ensure every student can be successful in their pursuits after they leave BCPS.
THE LEARNER-CENTERED CLASSROOM
We are asking teachers to make their classrooms more learner-centered. But what exactly does that mean? Let's start by breaking it down into three parts: the teacher, the space, and the student.
So you may be asking yourself, "Why do we need devices?" To make a learner-centered classroom a reality, technology is vital. Creating opportunities for a blended learning environment, digital content and tools are partnered meaningfully in the classroom with face-to-face discussion, collaboration, paper and pencil activities, and hands-on learning experiences. With devices, teachers have an extensive amount of digital resources at their fingertips that can address student learning preferences and personal interests. Digitally collecting student work allows teachers to provide feedback more quickly so that students can reflect and move forward. In some cases, the digital tool might even provide instantaneous feedback. When students have access to their own device, they have digital content and tools that empower them in the learning process. A student can choose from several digital resources to build their understanding of a topic. Digital resources help make content accessible for all students. While reading a passage, a student can have a word pronounced or look up a definition as they read. They can quickly do research to dive deeper into a topic, viewing a video from a same day news report or accessing archives of old manuscripts. Students can use tools to represent their learning through writing, images, videos, and audio recordings in a creative way that builds their skills in communication, collaboration, and in using technologies. Devices allow for learning to be authentic, connected to real-world problems, and not limited by the location in which they live or go to school.
TERMS TO KNOW:
There are a lot new words being used to describe education today, and many of them have several different definitions making it all the more confusing. To clear things up a little, we've defined some of these terms below as they are used in BCPS:
The instruction is a combination, or blend, of digital and non-digital resources and activities. The technology is used only when it is appropriate and enhances the learning. Throughout a blended learning lesson, students may view multimedia content, read from print books, have a collaborative discussion with their peers face to face, meet with their teacher in a small group, and post a digitally created project to demonstrate their learning. What does blended learning look like? http://lighthouse.bcps.org/blended-learning.html
The teacher plans instruction for each student based on data and observations they make daily in the classroom as well as what they know about student interests and preferences. Each students' path may look different, with a combination of whole group, small group (with the teacher), collaborative group (with peers), and individual learning experiences supported with digital resources. This is sometimes referred to as individualized learning.
What does customized learning look like? http://lighthouse.bcps.org/reflections/category/small-group-instruction
The student has the opportunity to make choices in how they learn, what they learn, and how they demonstrate what they've learned. Students can help shape their own learning path based on their personal interests and preferences.
What does personalized learning look like? http://lighthouse.bcps.org/personalizing-instruction.html
Want to learn more about the research behind S.T.A.T.? Visit the Annotated Bibliography page to see specific studies and publications that inform the work of S.T.A.T.