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Outlook 2013: Elementary school classrooms, curriculum changing in Oklahoma

Technology is changing the way students learn in the classroom. Teachers are responding with enthusiasm, and students are the beneficiaries, said Derrel Fincher of the state Education Department.

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: April 28, 2013

“This is where crowdsourcing comes in,” he said. “Teachers are very collaborative. They like to share. They like to work with others. They will create these wonderful lessons and improve them.”

Embracing changes

The dramatic changes that have happened in recent years — and the revolutions on the horizon — can be tough for some teachers, Fincher said. But for the most part, teachers and administrators are embracing the changes.

“You sometimes hear that people are afraid of doing something or change, and that’s really not the case,” Fincher said.

While few teachers push back against development, most are excited once they see how changes can improve their classrooms, Fincher said.

“Teachers get into teaching to help children,” Fincher said, “and they see how this can help children.”

The key, he said, will be to provide training and information to teachers about how to apply all these strategies in the classroom.

“People talk about all these great things that are going to happen,” Fincher said. “You can’t just put things randomly in a class and say this will change things forever.”

But some things won’t change, Fincher said. Classrooms will still exist, and dynamic, effective teachers will always be in demand.

“You need a place where you can bring students together,” he said. “Especially young ones — they need a safe environment where they can learn. That won’t go away. Teachers won’t go away.”