In her 28 years at Natick High School, Rose Bertucci has seen it all.
Everything from how teachers teach, to how students learn, and even the high school itself which was rebuilt two years ago has all changed.
But the change is something she's embracing.
"When I took the position as interim, we’ve
changed schedules, the mascot, prepared teachers for the 1-to-1 laptop program," the fourth-year principal said. "That’s a daunting task. It’s a paradigm shift in the way that you teach. You
basically have a tool that can look up anything in the world."
Bertucci said educators this year are more comfortable in their surroundings after spending last year getting acclimated to the new school. Everything from white white boards, to the chairs to the outdoor patio has changed.
"Now everyone is settled in to the 80-minute classes, laptops to your disposals, and we have three floors," she said. "This year we’re more at ease. We’re focusing on blended learning. How the teachers actually blend learning with the technology involved. It really is a shift in education and we’re learning as we go on."
Among the technological advances is a new learning management system called Moodle, a free, virtual learning web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites.
"In terms of learning practices, we’re looking at blended learning. How do we get them to embrace it the right way? How do you use social media correctly? How do you use the computer properly and how to handle the computer?" she said. "I don’t have to show you a movie in class anymore. I can have you watch a YouTube clip at home. It’s a whole different take for teachers."
But despite the advancement with computers, the interaction between educators and students is better than ever.
"There’s been a really great collaboration between students and the teachers," Bertucci said. "If they find an easier way to learn, all well and good. They are helpful. We have a helpdesk in the library where teachers ask (students) for help.
"We try to embrace more collaboration and communication. We want students to be more independent thinkers. That is the notion that teachers go by, standing on your own two feet."
One example Bertucci gave was that of lecture classes. Interaction would be minimal at best as the teacher spoke in front of a class the entire period.
"Years ago teachers would just talk, and students would memorize and take tests and those who were good and memorizing did a lot," she said. "That small population is changing."
Bertucci said she can also see the role of a teacher changing, too.
"At some point I can see classes being shorter because the teacher will become the resource, the person to go to when they don’t understand. The bulk of the research will be through videos, movies or some kind of application that teaches you," she said. "At some point the teacher will be there for help, not for delivering instruction. I’m sure that will take years and I’ll be retired, but it’s going that way."