An overview of the SWAT program from
Michael Milone, PhD.
Michael Milone, Ph.D. Coordinator of the Teacher of the Year Program for Technology and Learning Magazine speaks out about the SWAT Program:
Although SWAT is strongly associated with the most contemporary technology, the principles that underlie SWAT reflect the very best education traditions. One of the strongest of these traditions is encouraging students to become stakeholders in their own education. Students who participate in SWAT gain a sense that they are active participants in the education process and recognize that their contributions are valued, thus they develop a stronger sense of ownership of the process.
Another tradition that underlies SWAT is that of accountability. From their first experience with SWAT, submitting their application, through the various SWAT activities, students know that their peers and the significant adults in their life have expectations of them, and that meeting these expectations is part of their role in SWAT.
Related to accountability is the notion of standards. The teachers and students who participate in SWAT have clearly raised the bar, and the performance standards they establish are rigorous and relevant. Students are willing to meet these standards because they feel ownership of them and know that the standards demonstrate an uncommon commitment to excellence.Students who are involved in SWAT quickly learn that their efforts contribute to the common good. Unlike many programs that promote excellence, SWAT is a team rather than individual effort whose outcomes benefit the education community, not the individual student. Working together as a team and contributing to the common good are two of the most important lessons students can learn, and their SWAT participation will make it more likely that students will bring these lessons to their subsequent education and career experiences.
Finally, SWAT participants engage in active, dynamic learning. They learn by doing, and they acquire the ability to adapt what they have learned to novel situations. When a SWAT student sits down to tutor a younger student or engage in online research, for example, there is no script to follow. The student must recall previously learned strategies, apply the strategies in a novel situation, and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies that have been brought into play. In short, the student must engage in applying a variety of higher-order skills, which is one of the most highly valued outcomes in education.