Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The role of technology in the 21st Century

Technology, per se, is not the point of education, heck, a pencil is a type of technology. Ideally we want to utilize and maximize the use of technological tools to enhance student learning. Since our students are typically quite comfortable in the use of technology we want them to have that access in our classrooms. The big push for technology is really in the paradigm surrounding the "changing of the guard" from 20th Century teachers who are, by in large, digital "aliens" (tech is from another world to them) or digital "immigrants" (tech is a second language - at whatever level). Like students, teachers trained in the 21st Century are clearly digital "natives" - this is their natural state. As we travel deeper into the 21st Century and replace our digital aliens and immigrants with digital natives as teachers, the issue of technology use in instruction and the classroom will become ubiquitous.


Nate Maas said...

When you write, "...we want them to have that access in our classrooms," who is 'we'? The reason I ask is that I don't believe there is consensus on who we are nor do I think everyone is on the same page regarding the definition of access. To clarify, I don't think every teacher or administration or community agrees that students should have unfettered access to technology. While I think that learning involves risk (perhaps even risk of exposure to things that may be objectionable to some) be that exposure to new thoughts or information. I am aware that not everyone shares this belief. My school district even blocks Wikipedia. Whereas most agree that children need some direction for their learning, the debate is over what direction and what safeguards should surround that learning. Technology has the ability to accelerate information available to students. If technology is a tool or a means to an ends, it is appropriate to ask also if the ends are agreed upon by all for public education and if the technology employed is appropriate to those ends or only a diversion.

Dr. Patrick Faverty said...

I think the key to your post, Nate is that "exposure" needs to be protected. I don't think thaat beleif will last long - there is no way the web will slow down it's development. It seems to me that we would be much better off helping students learn to self regulate. Our job is their future and in the future self regulation is the only true "protection."