The Wilson School’s Technology Coordinator, Melika Panneri, has been named a 2015 Independent Schools of St. Louis (ISSL) Teacher of Distinction for her work in integrating technology throughout the curriculum. As one of three award winners, she will receive a grant to be used towards further implementation of her work. She will also advance to the 2015 Emerson Teacher Awards program, which takes place this fall.
With the grant, Mrs. Panneri plans to attend the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in June 2016. “The way we have been teaching for the last century is rapidly changing. The best way to stay relevant is to be immersed in face-to-face dialogue with the best technology educators in the world,” says Mrs. Panneri.
Mrs. Panneri has spent many years developing Wilson’s coding curriculum that starts in second grade and carries through sixth. She has also collaborated with teachers in all subject areas to enhance project-based learning opportunities with technology. For example, fourth grade students studied the Vikings in social studies and then coded their own virtual worlds based on their knowledge.
At the ISTE conference, she looks forward to sharing what she has learned on this journey with others and also is interested in diving into more hands-on experiences with 3-D printing and makerspaces – knowledge she will bring back and apply directly to benefit Wilson students.
Learning isn’t just for the little ones at The Wilson School. Wilson’s faculty and trustees jumped right into their own learning this academic year with a special evening session on the first night of school with Professor Edward Hess, author of “Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization.”
In his presentation entitled “Educating for the Smart Machine Age,” Professor Hess gave a glimpse of the organization of the future, what needs it will fill through machines and what skills will be required for humans. As one could imagine, he described the transformational stronghold technology will have (and already has in some cases) on replacing certain job functions. However, at the heart of his talk he underscored that humans will always “win” when it comes to creativity, innovative and critical thinking and emotional and social intelligence.
So what does this future mean for educators of young children today? For the Wilson community, it was a good reinforcement that our school mission, to prepare students for success in an ever-changing world, is right on point. Further, it validated that the work that our educators do to continually balance and blend classic, fundamental academics with innovative approaches has never been more important.
Another key takeaway from Professor Hess’ presentation was the idea that a true learning culture is one that embraces humility. As he states, in the world of the future, people won’t be defined by how much they know, but by whether they use good thinking, listening and collaborating processes. He suggested that as a school, our “output” is life-long learners, who are characterized by traits such as curiosity, courage, an entrepreneurial mindset and adaptability.
With the introduction of more integrated, project-based learning in Wilson’s curriculum over the last few years, and even the launch of Wilson’s Think Camp this summer, it is encouraging to see and hear from this renowned expert that the school is headed in the right direction. Inspired by his words, Wilson’s faculty and trustees look forward to incorporating these ideas further into the life of the school and our community.
More About Ed Hess
Ed Hess is Professor of Business Administration & Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia. Professor Hess is the author of 11 books, 75 articles and over 60 Darden cases dealing with growth, innovation and learning cultures, systems and processes.
His most recent book, "Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization," (Columbia Business School Publishing, September 2014) has been an Amazon best seller and was awarded the Well Fargo Award for Research Excellence.
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