Teachers and/or technology

8 02 2010

Although I initially created this blog to document my thoughts and findings for a Secondary English Education class at Penn  State University, it is quickly becoming my place to reflect, share, better develop my own beliefs and teaching philosophy, grow, and in many ways begin creating my own digital education portfolio.

One of the most valuable blogs in helping me to organize and develop my own views on education and technology has been The Thinking Stick. Education and technology – these are two subjects I’ve been reading an immense amount about lately – so much so, that I’m often left at the end of the day overwhelmed with snippets of thoughts, uncertain of what to blog or much less focus on thinking about.  This is where The Thinking Stick comes in – a recent post entitled “You mean the teacher still matters?” gave me some ideas to focus on, some more awesome links to check out, and most importantly, some fresh mental food to feed off of. Utecht’s post begins, “Four great articles have come to light lately that point to research being done and what many of us in the Ed Tech community have been saying for a long time might just be on the horizon. That is that this technology stuff can improve education.”

I’ll admit that at the end of this paragraph I started to get excited,  pulled my coffee mug close and prepared for a serious time-chunk of blogging. Then, off I went in search of more support, evidence and information to this idea – that “this technology stuff can improve education.”

“The Thinking Stick” featured a link to a Mashable post by Josh Catone entitled “What is the Future of Teaching?” where he wrote: “No longer is online learning just reading a module and answering questions — it can now include synchronous or asynchronous discussions and peer-to-peer learning exercises. As a result, online learning is becoming a more useful tool as both a replacement for and enhancement to traditional face-to-face learning.”

A similar point found in both of these posts is that while technology has the ability to enhance traditional learning, it does not have the ability to completely replace the teacher. Personally, this is a point that gives me hope; for as amazing as technology can be, I do not want my future ten year old child being educated from a screen everyday while sitting at home. In the conclusion to his post Catone writes, “Online education may never completely replace face-to-face learning, though as the Department of Education study shows, with enough time and under the guidance of a good teacher, online learning environments can produce results that are just as good or better than classroom learning. Online learning is likely to be used more often to enhance face-to-face learning in the future, however, and in communities where classroom learning is infeasible due to lack of funds, online learning is an adequate stand-in.”

Several weeks ago Will Richardson – owner of the blog Weblogg-ed, author of  Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, and “Learner in Chief” at Connective Learning – featured a post discussing the need to teach technology. His post featured a link to the 21st Century Collaborative blog by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Richardson writes of Beach, “One of my favorite things that Sheryl says when she talks about the challenges that schools face right now is that this generation of kids in our schools is the first not to have a choice about technology.” In his post Richardson features a powerful quote from a new Kaiser Foundation report entitled Daily Media Use Among Children and Teens Up Dramatically From Five Years Ago: “Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.”

Richardson closes his post by saying, “Right now, most schools are making what I think is a bad choice by not immersing their students into these online learning environments which are creating all sorts of opportunities for us to learn. In doing so, they’re implicitly saying that technology is an option. It’s not.”

– – –

I’ll end this post with an interesting video I discovered through the Curriclum 2.0, New Literacy Wikispace. The Wikispace “Curriculum 2.0” is a project created for schools and designed by teachers. The essential question to the Wikispace and the video is, “How does an information and technology curriculum stay relevant and meaningful in the 21st Century?” The video shows through a series of statements and facts the reasons why being able to answer this question is both important and necessary for educators and learners in the 21st Century.  It is a very interesting Wikispace – definitely worth checking out.

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5 responses

9 02 2010
Jason Whitney

That was a very impressive blog post — you linked together the resources you found and crafted a compelling argument, and the writing is really excellent. You enlarged my understandings and certainly added a great deal to all of our PLNS with this. I think that blogging might be a real gift — it might be the ideal creative vehicle for you. Keep it up, this is great!

9 02 2010
brm5004

Thanks for looking at Micheal’s blog!! I just read your blog and I LOVE it!!! I really thought that the ‘thinking’ / ‘wishing’ stick was a really cool thing that your teacher in high school did and how you are still using/thinking about it. I really enjoyed reading your last blog post!! 🙂

12 02 2010
Rae Theisen

I just wanted to say thanks for sharing that site! I think it’s a great site. It really brings together the two seemingly unrelated fields (education and technology) and helps those interested understand and further their knowledge. I totally bookmarked this!

15 02 2010
Jason Whitney

Laura,
Your Blog is where it was the last time I checked, but I rewatched that video you posted and I’m suddenly aware that I suddenly have this great skill set for engaging with technology. I think I thought computers would leave me behind because I couldn’t code HTML or build great websites or design software, and it has all come full circle with these easy to use technologies and the need for thoughtful, creative, and well-written content, just the skill-set I’ve been developing all along in myself and my students. The future is looking pretty good for people who can write and think.

6 04 2010
Self-assessment « Teach Simplicity

[…] most or best comments, or the ones that i enjoyed writing the most:  Writing out of the blog rut, Teachers and/or technology and Storytelling supports learning, imagination, and creativity. My previous blog, Creativity, […]

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