08 Jul, 2011
A few interesting posts from the past week
Summer is upon us (for most, anyway), but that doesn’t mean good articles about educational technology stop flowing. Here are just a few from this week:
Tina Barseghian takes inspiration from a longer piece by Adam S. Bellow (The Tech Commandments) in this article about using technology in schools.
Technology should be like oxygen, Bellow said, quoting Chris Lehmann, the founding principal of Science Leadership Academy: Ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible.
Why hide technology in a special room or lab? Technology should be ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible. I agree.
“The world is not a sterile place. Kids need to learn how to deal with it.” And because kids have access to every kind of information at any time, they need to learn about things like Creative Commons and copyright rules. “We’re doing them a major disservice if we don’t teach them good digital citizenship,” he said.
I whole-heartedly agree. Fear should not drive decision making. Don’t ban what you don’t understand or hope to control. Instead, educate. Digital citizenship and Internet literacy should be taught early and often.
Good article with some tips on converting reluctant colleagues to lifelong learners and users of technology, by showing how educational technology can help teachers and students.
My physics classes do not have a textbook because I use two free online physics texts, three great websites, and a free downloadable pdf version of a physics textbook. Savings of $140 per student. (the textbook we have is very old and out of date)
Just one example of how one teacher is using technology in the classroom, and saving money at the same time.
I could not put a numeric value on educational technology. I know I save money, I know I save time, I know I offer my students labs and experiences that I couldn’t otherwise (due to budget issues), I know the students have fun, I know that they are creating instead of just consuming, I know I am more efficient and more organized, I know I learn a lot from my PLN, I know my students learn a lot from the class and their work. How do you put a price on that? I think it is priceless.
This topic is one of my pet peeves, and this article from Tom Whitby is the latest. Every time I hear an excuse that uses the busted myth of “digital natives” or “digital immigrants”, I want to scream. It’s a copout, and there is no shortage of articles poking crater sized holes in the theory.
It is true that when it comes to Technology stuff, kids approach it differently. They are less intimidated, and less concerned with breaking something. They are more intuitive when it comes to technology use. Most devices and applications now have many more common bells and whistles that carry through to other devices and applications. Of course this behavior in tech use is learned through repetitive actions, as a result of this commonality of devices and applications and may suggest or give an appearance to a non-tech user that it is an example of a native intelligence for technology. However, it is, in fact, very much a learned behavior. It is that very attitude however, that is misleading to many educators.
I teach technology use to teachers, and let me tell you – Tom is 100% correct: tech use is a learned behavior, and anyone can learn it, not just kids. The only thing stopping you is an artificial barrier – the misguided belief that you can’t learn technology because you didn’t grow up with it. Hogwash. My 80 year old grandmother learned to use a computer to do online genealogical research. That was over 20 years ago.