Educators discuss the keys to engaging students during a professional development event in Dallas
How can today’s teachers inspire their students? Where does true engagement in learning come from—and how can technology play a role?
These questions were the focus of a unique professional development event held May 10 in Dallas, during which attendees heard from an all-star lineup of educators.
Sponsored by Promethean and its ClassFlow software, which facilitates collaborative learning using any ed-tech device, the “Educators Lounge” event drew dozens of K-12 teachers and administrators to explore, discuss, and celebrate excellence in teaching, said Machele Stefhon, head of strategic marketing programs for Promethean.
The speakers shared a wide range of advice with their colleagues, but over the afternoon a common theme emerged: Technology allows for more personalization of instruction—and great teachers take advantage of this by letting students follow their passions and direct their own learning.
“A teacher’s main role should be inspiring students to become lifelong learners,” said Arvin Ross, a junior at Kennesaw State University and the director of professional development for the iSchool Initiative. “As a student, if you inspire me to learn, I won’t need a study, a lesson, or a test.”
‘Learning should be noisy’
Nick Provenzano, a high school English teacher who writes a blog called The Nerdy Teacher, kicked off the event by noting that the traditional “stand and deliver” model, “while it has a purpose, … cannot be your lone method of instruction.”
There is a time for teachers to impart knowledge, Provenzano said, and there’s also a time for students to explore topics on their own.
“A noisy classroom is a classroom where learning is happening,” he said. “Learning should be noisy, it should be messy, because that’s what exploration is.”
Drawing on Google’s famous model of giving employees 20 percent of their time to work on something company-related that interests them personally, Provenzano said he gives his students one day a week to study something they’re passionate about.