Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Posted By mwasowski      Category

In the latest online version of T.H.E. Journal, writer Dave Nagel explores a speech given at the FETC Virtual Conference & Expo by Steven L. Paine, state superintendent of schools for West Virginia.  According to Nagel, Paine noted that 21st-century learning is not an option; it’s a necessity for students who must go out and compete on a global level. “Students deserve it. The world demands it," Paine told the virtual audience, and to make it happen, he said that changes need to be made in the way K-12 institutions assess students and in the way teachers are developed. 

I thought this was particularly rousing for two reasons.  First, the fact that Paine was critical of himself and his own team in West Virginia was quite admirable.  As we know, change can only truly occur when one honestly assesses oneself.  It certainly appears that Paine has done just that and is now on the way to making necessary adjustments.   Second, the fact that Paine recognizes the imperative role that technology now plays was quite appealing.  While it’s easy to declare that technology is important, to have a specific understanding of why it’s important and what role it can play is the true test.  But I’m happy to report that West Virginia Virtual School is one of the leading technologically-based schools in the country, and even world-renowned West Virginia University utilizes Wimba not only for only classes, but even for recruiting students from all over the world as Rick Bebout explained last week during the Wimba Distinguished Lecture Series.

So my hat’s off to the folks thoughout West Virginia.  A little honesty and a critical look in the mirror can make quite a difference!