Aug. 28, 2011
In August I celebrated 10 years of living in America. When I arrived in New York, the world was a very different place. My internet connection was dial-up, cell phones were mainly for making telephone calls, Facebook was not yet a concept, and the Twin Towers were prominent in the Manhattan skyline. Two wars, tens of tragedies and thousands of technological innovations later, this world has changed drastically. Even our pace of living has changed dramatically.
Moreover, our educational system has also changed.
However, educational and learning experiences haven't changed at the same speed as the rest of the world. Countless university professors still use the same frontal teaching methods that were used decades ago. Many public and private schools have not fully integrated new technologies such as computers and Smart Boards into the regular class- room experience.
While many students can easily operate four different electronic devises simultaneously, their teachers use basic software features at best, or even worse, chalk and markers.
Much improvement remains to be done.
New studies show us that the average 21st-Century learner has the ability to easily adapt to new situations, think quickly, and tackle a number of tasks at the same time.
On the other hand, the learner might be impatient, dependent (on technology), and socially challenged.
We, the 21st-Century educators, must acknowledge this transformation and find ways to adjust our teaching methods accordingly.
Over the past three years, we at PTS have discussed these and many other challenges as part of the NESS initiative. We have searched for new ways to engage our students in learning while focusing on their strengths and confronting their weaknesses.
We have integrated new technologies such as computers and a Smart Board as part of the learning experience, while restructuring our youth programming in order to provide more social-based activities.
Our goal is to address our students' needs -- academically and socially.
This coming school year, we plan to implement our new curriculum and continue to invest in professional development for our staff while expanding our informal youth activities. Your support is essential to achieving our goals successfully. As always, your feedback is welcome and your participation in our programs is much appreciated.
I wish you all a Shanah Tovah of new and exciting experiences.