I think very frequently about what the ideal classroom would be like. What would the teacher be doing? What would the students be doing? What type of technology would be there? What exactly would students be preparing for?
1. What would the teacher be doing?
The teacher's role would need to vary from day to day, but the primary purpose of the teacher would be acting as a co-investigator with groups of students. They are an expert in their content area, but by no means the only expert that students should need to receive information from. So the teacher would work alongside of students as they gather knowledge. Students would essentially be crafting their own knowledge and learning experience, where the role of the teacher would be to investigate with them, but also provide guidance and additional suggestions to enhance that experience. There is another cool function of the teacher as a tech trainer that I would absolutely love. With all of the new Web 2.0 tools that I discover, I'd be providing mini-lessons on the how and why to use particular tools. This makes me not only the Stat teacher but a technology teacher too.
2. What would the students be doing?
Students would be seated in small groups around their own interactive white board, meant to be used by the groups, not the instructor. They'd ideally be multi-user boards where more than one person can use it at once. After completing some initial activities to gather core concepts, they would communicate with experts all over the world including professionals, other teachers, and other students studying the same topic. The purpose of this communication is to expand on a basic concept, and share their knowledge with the world. This would be very specific to what the group wanted, not what the teacher required. When they are ready and they feel comfortable, they would share with the rest of the class where their journey has taken them. They'd share uses and application of a basic skill in an open forum where other groups are doing the same thing. Think of each group visiting each other for small presentations. The types of presentations would be designing games, business opportunities, develop software, marketing campaigns, etc all around the skill that they are learning.
The interactive white-board would be the driving force of the classroom, used for student research, presentation, and collaboration. Each student would have their own laptop for individual research. Each group would gather and share online resources primarily with each other, and centrally with the rest of the class.
So how will any of this get graded? I suppose the only way that makes sense is to rate the level to which each student has learned a particular skill. However, in my ideal classroom, there would be no grades. What's more valuable, an A on Project I in Unit 2.3 in Chapter 2, or an in-depth customized learning experience?