Research Question 3: Critical Challenges

What do you see as the key challenge(s) related to teaching, learning, or creative expression that learning-focused institutions will face during the next 5 years?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

As you review what others have written, please add your thoughts and comments as well.

Please "sign" each of your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010


Compose your entries like this:
  • Challenge Name. Add your ideas here, with few sentences of description including full URLs for references (e.g. http://horizon.nmc.org). And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!


  • There is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy. New skills are required of students in writing and communication, different from those of even a few years ago. Students and teachers both are finding it necessary to be technologically adept, to be able to collaborate on a global scale and to understand content and media design. Issues of assessment and integration of new literacies across the curriculum, and of teacher training, are complicated by the overarching need for a fuller understanding of what constitutes new literacy skills. [Carried over from 2009 K-12 Report] Strategies need to be updated and embedded in curriculum, based on robust models that provide direction for multimodal activities encompassing information, visual and technological literacy. Insights into these directions are provided by revised Blooms digital taxonomy. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 6, 2010 Building this into the curriculum is difficult, partly because it depends on so many other things (access to network resources, issues of privacy and protection, access to technology) -- but I agree, that is what's needed. - ninmah ninmah Feb 8, 2010 I agree as well - and one of the complications that makes it even more of a challenge is that there isn't really a "place" for technological literacy in the typical teacher's day or in the typical professional development calendar. Support is available, but unfortunately, only the teachers who are already pretty savvy know where/how to find it or think to do so. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010 I would want to see these skills embedded within the curriculum rather than taught as separate skills themselves. If we value these skills then they should also be embedded in assessment tasks and outcomes. We are talking about significant cultural shifts in the workforce and we need to develop ways to support leaders/teacher's knowledge and ability to keep up to date. Given that often teachers rely on colleagues for trusted materials, can social networks provide a more informal but affordable way of capability and knowledge building. We need to reward teachers who do this well. - garry.putland garry.putland Feb 9, 2010 I agree that these skills need to be embedded in the regular curriculum - but good curricular resources that also do this well aren't there yet - at least not in my area of STEM. The notion of keeping up to date is a key point - curricular resources need to have adaptability and flexibility to keep up with evolving technologies. As for social networks facilitating this - I agree there is potential, but I think it will need an external push to get off the ground.- jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 10, 2010 Information literacy is extremely important for today's students and will continue to grow along with our use of digital resources. Students need to be able to filter through the vast amounts of information, analyze, verify, and organize information. We need to redesign our curriculum around the use of these digital resources, not tack technology resources onto the end of learning. - alice.owen alice.owen Feb 15, 2010
  • Students are different, but educational practice and the material that supports it is changing only slowly. Schools are still using materials developed to teach the students of decades ago, but today's students are actually very different in the way they think and work. Schools need to adapt to current student needs and identify new learning models that are engaging to younger generations. Many education professionals feel that a shift to a more learner-centered model focused on the development of individual potential instead of the imposition of a body of knowledge would lead to deeper and more sustained learning across the curriculum. To support such a change, both teaching practice and the tools used in the classroom must adapt. Assessment has also not kept pace with new modes of working, and must change along with teaching methods, tools, and materials. [Carried over from 2009 K-12 Report].agreed. still a big challenge- chris.brown chris.brown Feb 9, 2010
  • We are not providing students with access to technology in a way that matches their workflow- tammy.stephens tammy.stephens Feb 5, 2010
  • Schools need simply find a way to adapt quicker and use the same tools as the kids not make the kids adapt.- jeffrey.bajgot jeffrey.bajgot Feb 6, 2010 Although there is a place for introducing new technical tools to young people, too, so that they have experience with a variety of resources other than those they learn at home or with their peers. - ninmah ninmah Feb 8, 2010
  • The statement above is no-doubt true - that practice is changing slowly. However, the notion that we need to shfit to a more "learner-centered" model isn't new. It goes back to Dewey (and earlier, of course) and then hits resonating notes all along the education reform song - Sputnik and hands-on science perhaps the most notable. So all this to say that student-centered learning hasn't happened in schools despite the heroic and persistent efforts of countless reformers over the years. The key point here....is that technologies have changed the game. Technologies have given students the power to take control of their learning in ways they never could before and I think this may just be the thing to finally create the conditions for student-centered learning to take hold. Perhaps it hasn't until now, because the technology to make it happen just wasn't available yet. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010 - alice.owen alice.owen Feb 15, 2010
  • There is a need for publishers to provide materials that can be updated as needed with the latest content. Textbooks are out dated as soon as they are published. Web 2.0 tools have created spaces for more open source content that can be as valid as mainstream publications and provide "wisdom of the crowd" knowledge.
  • Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervalued when it does take place. This challenge is an important one in K-12 schools, because it results in a lack of engagement in learning on the part of students who are seeking some connection between their own lives and their experience in school. Use of technology tools that are already familiar to students, project-based learning practices that incorporate real-life experiences, and mentoring from community members are a few practices that support increased engagement. Practices like these may help retain students in school and prepare them for further education, careers, and citizenship in a way that traditional practices are failing to do. [Carried over from 2009 K-12 Report]
  • This issue - supporting learning related to real life experiences - has been around as long as the notion of student-centered learning (above). The issues are the same - this is something that reformers have been trying to do for decades with little substantial and almost no sustained success. And why? There are many many reasons why reforms don't stick - but at this moment in time - I am actually optimistic in viewing these not as times of challenge for these goals (student-centered learning and education relevant to students' lives) but rather times of opportunity - technologies and need have never come together with such synergy before given the climate surrounding education right now - finally, we have the tools we need to facilitate this kind of learning experience and the kids are already with us and I hope will give the efforts the momentum they need. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010
  • I am not exactly sure where to place this comment. A lot to day's learning is occurring "informally", outside the window of education. Which leads to the thought that the physical structure currently housing "learning" needs attention also. This goes beyond the use of technology for offsite learning and beyond implementation of a project based learning model. "School is a process, not a place." (David Thronburg)- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 6, 2010- guus.wijngaards guus.wijngaards Feb 7, 2010 - roger.blamire roger.blamire Feb 9, 2010 Indeed. The kind of learning akin to knowledge-building through social networks is only just beginning to be experimented in schools - horncheah horncheah Feb 10, 2010
  • There is a growing recognition that new technologies must be adopted and used as an everyday part of classroom activities, but effecting this change is difficult. Technology tools that are part of everyday life for many students and working professionals should be seen as core tools of the teaching profession that teachers are required to master as any professional would master the tools of his or her trade. However, making such a profound shift in a well-established system is a difficult challenge. Professional development, intellectual interactions with peers, adequate training, and preparation time — all scarce resources for teachers — are necessary in abundance for such a shift to take place. [Carried over from 2009 K-12 Report] - dan.phelan dan.phelan Feb 7, 2010
  • A key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment. As long as maintaining the basic elements of the existing system remains the focus of efforts to support education, there will be resistance to any profound change in practice. Learners have increasing opportunities to take their education into their own hands, and options like informal education, online education, and home-based learning are attracting students away from traditional educational settings. If the system is to remain relevant it must adapt, but major change comes hard in education. [Carried over from 2009 K-12 Report]
  • It seems that policy makers and educators alike are tying to "reform, change, transition, adapt, etc." education, when the model that is needed does not exist yet. We need to "create". With all the funding from Race To The Top how many of those programs are truly innovative?- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 6, 2010
  • Another thought on this is does the creation of a new system need to be done all at once by a large number of participants? Sometimes I think educators get stuck here also. Most successful change movements have started with a handful of people.- guus.wijngaards guus.wijngaards Feb 7, 2010This means that we need a system that supports small-scale 'projects' where learners and teachers together will make progress step- by-step....
  • Another thought on this is that we will never ever really change the existing system if we do not all accept (and act accordingly) that students have to be contributing to their own ways of learning (prosumer idea), that teachers will need a life long contract with universities and/or other institutions of higher education that help them to survive as an up-to-date professional, that all 'educational content' need to be'open' and 'free', that schools need to be part of large (international) networks where both teachers and students will profit from by 'shopping' their learning needs (personalized) from out of their own school....- guus.wijngaards guus.wijngaards Feb 7, 2010
  • Another thought here is the "decentralization" of education. William Ouchi talks about this in his new book The Secret of TSL (total student load). He talks about the success of decentralized schools and that empowering principals with site based control improved student performance and decreased the dropout rate.- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 6, 2010
  • It seems to me that we know we need to change education, we do not always agree what we should change to, but we have some ideas. Yet a culture of innovation suggests constantly learning and continuous change. If we are heading that way, how do we approach and manage change. Perhaps we've not brought the worlds of technology in learning and change management sufficiently well together, and have good models to chart the path between where we are now and where we would like to be, and taking our stakeholders with us.- Gavin Gavin Feb 8, 2010
  • So many good points here already....it appears that innovative practices aren't likely to come out of sources to support innovation. But I don't think the answer is to create something new - something completely new may work in theory, but it will be so far away from current practice that few people will venture there. Small and incremental changes that are always moving forward are a more likely path for the typical teacher - the key is finding the "sweet spot" where the new practice is right at the edge of the teachers comfort - so the teacher will be willing to change, but not so uncomfortable as to give up. One caution with innovation, though (and small groups working) is that we too often fail to systematically learn from innovations - when groups are working creatively and diligently but in isolation it's unlikely that we as a field will be able to collectively learn from the inevitable failures and rare, valuable successes. So, when it comes to moving the establishment, it may take radical new ideas, but it can also happen with systematic, incremental forward movement - key is learning as we go. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010
  • This is definitely true of secondary education. We need to move away from Carnegie units and develop learning around projects in collaboration with outside experts, other classrooms. This is not a reform effort but a total transformation of education. Higher ed also needs to be a part of this change. - alice.owen alice.owen Feb 15, 2010
  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. The challenge is due to the fact that despite the widespread agreement on its importance, training in digital literacy skills and techniques is rare in teacher education programs. As teachers begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral. [Adapted from 2010 Horizon Report]
  • It is not only rare in teacher education programs but it is rare within school district professional development programs. There are lots of reasons school districts may not focus on this: emphasis on AYP, curriculum content is more highly valued, teaching to the test etc. Even when districts have an educational technology department most of the time that department is addressing hardware or software application issues at schools which are all equipped with crippled technologies and service.- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 6, 2010 - ninmah ninmah Feb 8, 2010
  • I think digital literacy should be included in national and/or subject curricula. Several countries are doing this, and the European Union has identified digital literacy as one of eight competencies.- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 8, 2010
  • Digital Learning Divide. More and more opportunities to become "educated" are cropping up for those with means and access. Stanford's Education Program for Gifted Youth is one example http://epgy.stanford.edu/. There is a danger as more and more of these types of opportunities arise that those kids without access will be left behind in traditional schools. (See Collins and Halverson's Rethinking Education in an Era of Technology for a more articulate overview.) - will.richardson will.richardson Feb 5, 2010
    Another aspect of this digital learning divide is that teachers are having to teach in a way that they did not learn themselves. The young students we teach today grew up using broadband Internet and cell phones. They are the digital natives Don Tapscott and Mark Prensky speak so well about. Teachers are the digital immigrants who may have a stronger or weaker accent online, but are always outsiders trying to adjust. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 6, 2010 I think it's worth noting, though, that "kids" who have known the internet their whole lives and who text like there is no tomorrow are the age of the new graduates leaving our teacher preparation institutions. In the grand scheme of things, the time won't be long when our teaching population will turnover to digital natives - so what are the implications for teacher preparation? Maybe, ultimately, it's still about good instruction - the tools have just changed. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010
  • Digital Divide - towards 3rd Generation? The debate about digital divide has so far focused on digital divide based on access (1st generation) and competences (2nd generation). With the emerging focus on digital natives/google generation/new millennium learners we need to pay attention to the possible emergence of third generation digital divide based on differences among learners regarding their ability to reap the benefits of learning with technology.- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 8, 2010
  • Concerning "kids without access being left behind in traditional schools" this will continue to happen as home schooling and charter and virtual schools continue to grow.- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 6, 2010
  • I still see a divide in poor and rural areas where broadband is not reaching schools and homes. There still needs to be a national effort to provide these resources to all families. France now considers access to broadband Internet a basic right. If the Internet will be a main source of information and news, it is imperative that everyone have access in order to be an informed society.
  • Paradigm shift in who is taking responsibility- Schools across the country are struggling with determining where they should live on the continuum of of allowing Web 2.0 applications or blocking them. I think the bigger issue behind this is who bears the responsibility for use of the network. The more a district locks down their network the more the district is taking on the responsibility for everyone. The more open it is the more students need to be responsible for their behavior on the network. In order to move to more open environments where schools can realize the full potential of Web 2.0 applications policies, leadership, and educational practices need to change. There needs to be a shift in responsibility to the student. In order for this shift to occur it is going to take a lot of education of district leaders, educators, parents and students in a supportive environment.- tammy.stephens tammy.stephens Feb 5, 2010- guus.wijngaards guus.wijngaards Feb 7, 2010 As information and knowledge is becoming increasingly 'cloud' based, schools need to recognize how critical school libraries and teacher librarians are to embedding information and digital literacies (effective learning and teaching strategies) into the curriculum.- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 6, 2010
  • What culture changes are required if we are to get the most from use of technology? Are there cultures which by their nature are more likely to be successful in the digital world? For example if a culture accepts that individuals hold responsibility for their access to internet and their behaviour in its use, and supports learners in developing associated knowledge, skills and behaviours, will that create a better balance of individual and institutional control when it comes to filtering and access to Web2.0 tools. If there are advantages in that form of openness, can, should and how can less open cultures change?- Gavin Gavin Feb 8, 2010
  • When governments provide tax breaks for parents to purchase devices for kids to take into schools, perhaps then we may see a shift in who is responsible and for what. This is a key issue misunderstood by school education, parents. In the past, education has tended to take full responsibility for 'Duty of Care' once the kids enter the school grounds. The internet has no boundaries. Responsibility has to be shared rather than assumed by one party. The parties include the learner, parents and the school. Parents are a critical element in this. - garry.putland garry.putland Feb 9, 2010
  • Internet safety for kids. Students are more exposed as they use Web 2.0 tools and participate in online communities and social networking sites, or publish videos and photos. Schools have to be concerned about creating a program to address these issues and make sure they teach life skills both for the real world and the virtual world. This program should include a little bit of legislature, teaching kids what are laws and how they work, so they realized that what they do online does have real consequences that could affect them for a long time. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 6, 2010 I agree. Things like cyber-bullying and how to monitor and address these issues are important and difficult just like in the real world. We need the online cyber assistant principal of discipline. - jeffrey.bajgot jeffrey.bajgot Feb 6, 2010 - roger.blamire roger.blamire Feb 9, 2010
  • Lack of shift in the personal learning habits of teachers and leaders. Very difficult to understand the networked learning potential of these technologies in the classroom without being some type of networked learner to begin with. - will.richardson will.richardson Feb 7, 2010- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 8, 2010 - ninmah ninmah Feb 8, 2010
  • Accreditation. As we have more and more online learners, how do we resolve -- and calibrate our education systems and teaching to respond? This is especially true where on-line learning opportunities offer greater potential to realize education opportunities across borders, and to incorporate non-traditional learners of various sorts (especially those currently in the workforce). - michael.trucano michael.trucano Feb 8, 2010
  • Assessment. Is it possible to create learning pathways through social networks, to allow learners to better retrace their steps, and allow reflexion on the path they have followed and therefore gain something of assessment for learning. Taking this one step further, if the path can be retraced, can this be a basis for more formal assessment reflecting the choices and decisions made by a learner in pursuit of a line of research, design or production?- Gavin Gavin Feb 8, 2010 - roger.blamire roger.blamire Feb 9, 2010. ]
  • On the issue of assessment - I think there has to be some alignment between the content/discipline knowledge of learning; the generic skills; and including technologies in learning. eg It is incongruous to foster students' learning with technologies and assess them with pen and paper. More thinking about formative and summative assessment also required.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010~
  • We have gone too far with testing and forgotten about formative assessment to drive instruction. Our assessments need to align with how students learn now. - alice.owen alice.owen Feb 15, 2010
  • Need for Mass Customization capability: We have all heard the apt description of our K12 schools as "factories" and so, no surpise that students are treated as much more the same than different and many who do not fit the mold are cast aside. The factory is no place for truly personalized learning beyond the handful of students a great teacher can reach. Realistically, schools, school buildings and school and educator infrastructure in its many forms and limiting factors (like available $, technologies, training, etc.) will be with us for a long time to come. The challenge will be how can we deliver a "mass customization" experience to the learner that feels (and is) more relevant to them and is more tailored to their needs? Teachers and other educators are part of this mix, together with technology and evolving pedagogy.- chris.brown chris.brown Feb 8, 2010 I don't have an answer here, but I am right on board with the importance of needing to figure out how to provide this kind of customization and provide direct access to that customization for the learner. As this kind of learning opportunity evolves, the educational environment will necessary begin to evolve to student-centered instruction. I think it is inevitable, the question is what can we do to speed the inevitable along...- jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010
  • Maybe outside the scope of this exercise, but there will be challenges related to external factors, notably economic crises and associated public spending cuts, climate change and a move towards more responsible carbon-neutral schools and technology use. - roger.blamire roger.blamire
  • Perceived Barriers Between "Formal" and "Informal" Settings - and Not Enough Emphasis on "Learning": There appears to be a long-standing point of view among educators who reside in "informal" settings (museums, after-school programs, hobby clubs, etc.) that they don't want what happens in their settings to be like "school." This point of view seems rooted in the idea that learning that happens in informal settings is more based in interests and more child-centered than the learning that happens in school. And this is probably right. The problem, however, is that it seems that those in informal settings have devalued the potential of school - they see it for what it is and not for what it could be. They don't seem to understand that if school were what we have been working to try to make it for many years, it too would be built on student interests and more student centered. This issue is relevant in this context because technologies are bringing down the brick and mortar walls of schools and the boundaries that used to define when and where learning takes place are disappearing. The formal and informal communities need to recognize that they need to become one community of learning.- jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010
  • Isolation of the Disciplines: The current movement toward common standards is solidifying the isolation of the disciplines. This is not a statement about standards one way or another, but rather a recognition that as they are defined in isolation of one another, they are likely to be taught in isolation of one another. It's not inevitable, but still remains a challenge. There are no easy answers, but it is important to recognize that more coherent learning experiences for kids are experiences that naturally embrace multiple disciplines - just like the experiences of our daily lives. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 9, 2010
  • Staying the course is a challenge. From School of the Future, "One compelling lesson to come out of the project is just how difficut it is to change the American High school, particularly in a real-world setting like an underperforming urban district." www.digitalldirection.org/go/futureschool- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 9, 2010
  • Ask the students. Student interviews talking about how they think schools can use technology in better ways to improve learning and prepare them for a technologically oriented world of work. [[http://www.edweek.org/go.studentviews[[user:jan.morrison%7C1265757873|www.edweek.org/go.studentviews- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 9, 2010]]
  • Again this should be part of the transformation of schools - to blend the disciplines. - alice.owen alice.owen Feb 15, 2010
  • Developing the next generation of teachers and academics- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010
  • Pedagogical and leadership changes are required if students are to become socially-critical and creative in their use of technologies. Developing teachers who are able to include technologies in meaningful ways in classroom practices requires teacher education programs that build the capacity of educators at all levels to understand the challenges and enable new learning to take place.
  • More research - preferably across physical boundaries - about all kinds of things - leadership; policies; pedagogical approaches; infrastructure issues; identity management; learning in virtual worlds etc etc- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010
  • Open education - where content, software and standards are open and learning in collaborative and linked to real life. - kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010