Cara LeGrys on the 21st Century CTE Classroom

I began teaching marketing education courses in 1992. The district in which I taught in had limited funds so many of the textbooks that were on the shelves in my classroom were very outdated….1970 in some cases. That was the beginning of me using print and televised resources to plan my lessons. In those days, it was exciting to find a series on television that you could record, on a VHS tape and bring in to supplement a lesson. As my career continued in marketing education, the digital age began. It was no longer television shows, but internet resources and clips from online media.

In my role as a central office administrator currently, we recently spoke to department chairs about the use of textbooks in their classrooms. Ninety-eight percent of our high school career and technical education teachers do not use traditional textbooks. With the benefit of technology in all rooms, wireless access and laptop carts, students connect to the world via the internet and digital resources every day. This requirement of the 21st Century classroom does not come without its challenges. Many school districts are facing budget challenges and that directly influence the purchase of technology and its availability and upgrades. Students really should have their own device to use every day, in every class. This is a reflection of how quickly needs change and how difficult it is to convince the stakeholders and decision makers of how desperately funding is needed just to meet the needs of students. Students would not go without textbooks in the past, but daily go without the devices they need. Technology and the access to the unlimited resources is the new “textbook.” Just my thoughts as I have seen our students change, our classroom changes and our lesson development and planning change.