Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Free Agent Learner," What a Concept!

T.H.E. Journal's Dave Nagel posted an excellent summary of Project Tomorrow's recently releasedSpeak Up 2008 Report--the result of "more than 281,000 students, 29,000 teachers, 21,000 parents, and 3,100 administrators and involved 4,379 schools from 868 districts in all 50 states." I wasn't very good at Statistics in college, I admit; but I'd say data issuing from a survey that broad deserve some consideration. Jill Evans, PT's CEO, was quoted laying down some pretty heavy observations about the "digital disconnect" between perceptions in the surveyed camps about how well schools are preparing their students for a new global economy. There are other gems in the article. "For example, students and teachers were asked which technologies they would include in the 'ultimate school.' More than twice as many students as teachers chose online classes; more than twice as many students as teachers chose gaming; nearly three times as many students chose Internet access; and three times as many students chose mobile devices."

...perhaps the most significant trend in education technology, Evans said, is the emergence of the student as a "free agent learner": Students want more control over their own learning experiences through technology and want to define their own educational destinies and determine the direction of their learning.

"This free agent learner is one that is technology-enabled, technology-empowered, and technology-engaged to be ... an important part of driving their own educational destiny. To some extent they feel ... it's a responsibility. They also feel it's a right to be able to do that. So technology has enabled this free agent learner. We have the opportunity in education to make sure they're on the right track and to be supportive of their learning experiences."  READ MORE...

Dave Nagel"Students as 'Free Agent Learners'," T.H.E. Journal, 4/24/2009,

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