Smartboards, Gardens and a Global Classroom

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This is a re-post of a blog written for NBC News Education Nation and was previously posted on their Learning Curve site.

MOM BLOG: Smartboards, Gardens and a Global Classroom

Jennifer DeFranco //May. 6, 2011 // 12:00 AM

For Mother’s Day this year, The Learning Curve asked six delegates to the annual Mom Congress to send us their educational wish lists. These “mom blogs” constitute an honest look at what’s lacking in our school systems, a maternal reprimand of the current discourse, and a description of the dream school of the future.

As parents, it’s easy to compile a list of “wants” for even the best school district in the nation. My children go to a suburban elementary school in northeastern Illinois, and yet my wish list is long.

It starts with resources that would bring their classrooms to life, a curriculum that broadens their cultural intelligence, and a physical structure that would allow every child to see the sunlight throughout the school day. Our school district lacks the technology to bring 21st century learning to the fingertips of every child, it lacks course loads that challenge them culturally, and it lacks rooms with windows, due to overcrowding.

I wish for learning gardens, Smartboards, touch screens and e-books. I want the kids to exercise their brains more by having physical education every day. I want a longer school day to allow more than 15 minutes of lunchtime. And my ultimate wish: Year-round school to stop the loss of material during those long breaks in the summer.

I also wish for arts to be a priority and the emphasis on standardized testing to decline. Teaching to the test would disappear and teaching outside the box would become the norm. Our walls would have no bounds and we would collaborate in a global classroom with a continental reach beyond our furthest dreams.

My wish list could go on and on, but in the end, as parents, I think we all hope and wish for the very same things. We want schools that are staffed with excellent teachers who challenge and nurture our kids. We want thorough, cutting edge curricula to prepare them for what lies beyond our shores. We want a safe structure within which they can learn and grow. We want them to have the freedom to think on their own and develop an opinion about what they learn.

Ultimately, we all want a supportive school environment that prepares our kids to be the productive, educated citizens who will one day become part of a community that values education as the base for every child’s future success.

Is that really too much to ask?

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