Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Continuum of change

Adopt and Adapt: Shaping Tech for the Classroom
21st-century schools need 21st-century technology.


Marc Prensky’s succinct summary is easy to relate to. The ‘Big Tech Barrier’ existing in schools certainly does impact the learning curve. The thought of sharing my lap top is not a comfortable one and yet I ask students to do it every day.

Things have evolved slowly in the past years of education – that is no longer the case. Teachers in a role as the font of knowledge, is also not the case. Facilitator is probably to light a term, and again I think of the Networked Teacher and need to take a deep breath as I dive in deeper.

“Dabbling. Doing old things in old ways”...

Well, one has to dabble to get started – so that’s not all bad, and doing things in the old way worked for so long – the resistance by the Luddite ‘leaders’ has severe ramifications for slowing down the learning process. Letting go of the fear of someone else knowing something that you don’t, is a huge part of moving forth from this. Embracing what others know – as opposed to being threatened by it – opens a whole new world of connectivism.

“Doing old things in new ways.”

The doing old things in new ways seems to be where many learning environments are floundering. Simulations for social studies bring it alive for students who often have trouble with the concept of people being distant in space and time, can help make sense of history. The ways children will be, and are using old things is new ways is exciting. It is hard for adults to stand still when children are moving past them. Unless adults adopt and adapt strategies that help students learn, they are standing in the way of powerful learning experiences.

“Doing new things in new ways”

As more people who really know and understand the power of technology to impact learning are absorbed into an educational environment, the greater the critical mass and the faster the changes. The more the digital ‘immigrants develop a comfort level with the ever changing technologies and the digital ‘natives’ have power over their own learning.

“For the digital age, we need new curricula, new organization, new architecture, new teaching, new student assessments, new parental connections, new administration procedures, and many other elements.” That is a big ask and a lot to do. The organization as a whole has to be on board. It is a lot of education in the community. However it seems ludicrous to not use the capabilites at our fingertips to extend the learning of each and every student.
“Edutopia” may not be as elusive as Utopia.

1 comment:

  1. I agree in this age we need to be conformable with not knowing it all and allowing everyone to be a teacher and a learner. Your PLN is there for that reason, learn from them and use them.

    I agree that fear is a big factor. Where does this fear come from? Why...in the teaching profession do we feel like we need to know it all and are scared when we don't? I thought that's what schools are for? Learning is what we all do at school...and in this day in age you don't need to know much if you know where to go to find the information...that's the skill we should all be using and teaching in my opinion.