School management system - EDUkIT becomes School Champion

Interactive technologies? Media in education? Revolutionary approach to teaching?
If you are interested in these questions as well as we are, let us pay your attention to an article of a famous teacher-innovator from the USA who has combined traditional methods with modern technologies and helped many students to achieve success in their lives.

Publishing group “Osnova” kindly gave sanction to publish its article on our website, which was printed in the magazine “Pedagogichna maisternia” 06.06.2016.


Esther Wojcicki (USA)

Esther Wojcicki is a journalism teacher and the founder of Palo Alto High School Media Arts program, which is intended to empower students’ possibilities with the help of mass media (newspapers, magazines, websites, yearbooks, videos, photos, radio and television). She was named California Teacher of the Year in 2002 and a recipient of the Gold Key by Columbia Scholastic Press Association in 2011. Since 2013 Esther Wojcicki has been an Honorable Researcher at MediaX at Stanford University. She holds an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Palo Alto University. Her popular textbook on blended learning, “Moonshots in Education: Launching Blended Learning in the Classroom" reveals how education can be revolutionized to meet the needs of the digital age. Esther Wojcicki is the Mother of Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube; Janet Wojcicki, Associate Professor at Department of Pediatrics, UCSF School of Medicine; and Ann Wojcicki, the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe.

In 1984 as a young journalist Esther Wojcicki came to Palo Alto High School in California, USA, to teach teenagers journalism. Her first reaction was to leave the school, to give up this work - as it did not go the way she imagined. There was a textbook; there were tests with which one had always to check knowledge; and there were students who were bored openly in the class. But then Esther thought: "I am a journalist, and I did not learn how to be a journalist by reading a book about how to be a journalist; I became a journalist by just doing journalism. So why would not the children do the same? "And when she began to teach by her own new methods - no one even noticed that the textbook was no longer opened in the journalism class.

By Esther’s own admission, the new methods are somewhat intuitive, but their effectiveness has been tested and confirmed by the experience of many. One of the first methods she tried was to take a traditional newspaper, discuss what is needed to create it, and then do all this yourself so that you get a new newspaper, written in the same style but with its own news. And this method has brought excellent results. Founded by Esther Wojcicki in 1984, Palo Alto High School Media Arts program began with a newspaper consisting of 6-8 pages that was created by 19 students; and today it is the biggest scholastic media program in the United States, where 6 teachers and over 600 students are working on nine media projects, and the new Media Arts Center has a total area of ​​over 2,300 m2.

As she became more experienced in teaching, Esther Wojcicki understood what worked best was blended learning, a combination of the latest technologies and traditional methods. For example, half of the lesson she teaches material in a form of a usual lecture, and for the rest of the time allows students to work independently with the use of electronic tools that assist in learning. While doing that, children should not "imitate the work" but rather create something really worthwhile that is valued by the students and also by society. Ideally, when students are going to the class, they are supposed to think not about "going to school" but about "going to work." The major components of this entire process, according to Esther, are Trust, Respect, Independence, Cooperation and Goodwill.

Картинка до статті Естер Воуджитські

It is necessary to radically change the culture that prevails now in the classrooms, to change specifically the vision of the role of the teacher. Students should control a part of their own learning process (Esther advises to start with students independently allocating 20% of the time provided for learning) - and the majority of teachers cannot even imagine this, because they were instructed to teach very differently. But think for a moment: what changes have occurred over the past century in science, and technology; how many newest technologies have started to be used in various areas of life only in the last few years. And if you come to school, to a lesson, you will most likely see the same picture as you would see fifty and even one hundred years ago: a teacher who is walking around the class and lecturing on the subject; children who do not even try to pretend that they are listening. Isn’t it the time for a moonshot, a moonshot in education that would result in new, really efficient technologies replacing these traditional methods?

It is not really important which subject the students are studying and whether it is related or not to what they plan to do in their adult lives. Their main takeaways from such lessons are self-confidence, ability to express their views, realization that they can learn anything in life if they want it, understanding that to learn how to do something, it is not necessary to read about it in a textbook, but that it is more important and more effective to just start doing it. And the most important thing that a school can give to the children is their belief that they can themselves create their own future.

Watch the video to hear what Esther Wojcicki says about it

Moonshots in Education video

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