Teachers College Professor speaks about Innovative Learning Systems
For years, education has traditionally been understood as a quantifiable process, through which performance and learning can be measured with standardized tests and assessments. But what if, instead of memorizing information for a test, the students could work on significant projects in which they were able to put that knowledge learned into practice?
This was one of the key issues in the keynote address “Building the Capacity of Schools for Pedagogical Innovation,” in which the director and co-founder of the Center for Technology and School Change at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Ellen Meier, reviewed the implementation of the Project Based Learning (PBL) system in schools in the United States.
The PBL model allows students to get involved in research that is relevant to their lives and communities, with projects organized around the development of diverse skills, such as student collaboration, problem solving and self-reflection through tasks that combine research and presentations, Meier said. PBL requires a significant change in classroom practices, since it is a student-centered orientation that challenges today’s dominant means of interaction, she added.
Regarding the implementation of new digital platforms to facilitate teaching school children and youth, Meier said that online learning can be a positive tool as long as it invigorates and digitalizes the status quo in educational terms, but the challenge is to find new ways to include creativity in these methods. "We need pedagogical innovation to change the world in which we live. In this new digital age we have to prepare our students to be active participants in their learning, and for that we must realize that they are the future creators of knowledge... We need to provide a breath of fresh air to the educational structures in order to find new ways and ideas to support student learning."
The Center for Technology and School Change is committed to the creation of innovative learning environments for all students. Recognizing technology as a catalyst for transforming instruction, the Center engages in research and practice to reimagine approaches to equitable education in the digital age.
Use this link to access Professor Meier’s presentation.