Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Does technology really empower learners to journey beyond just content?
cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Subspace
The other day, I had our parent meeting for next years year seven students who will be entering the 1-1 laptop program here at McDowall State School. My awesome (I better suck up just in case he ever reads this!) deputy principal stood up and talked a lot about the administration side of the program. Parents had lots of issues with insurance, bags, transport etc. Whilst these issues are of vital importance, it isn't exactly the most riveting and stimulating thing to engage with.
I then stood up and spoke to the parents about various things and one of the statements that I made is that technology is a vehicle that allows students to explore concepts deeply and think creatively. It goes beyond the surface of learning and enables and empowers learners to go beyond the content and explore it in detail. But does it really or am I just living in a fantasy world?
I think that in my classroom, it certainly does. My kids are active participants in the learning cycle and not just passive recipients of information or 'I don't know' people. They enquire, they explore, they think and they create. I use technology as a tool that empowers my learners. They go beyond the content and remix and add value. But what concerns me is when I see educators just using technology as a replacement for doing what they have always done. If you just 'word process' something instead of writing it, how is that enriching the lives of the students under your direction? Sure it will keep them quiet and make your life a lot easier but why have you bothered. It will make things look pretty (something that I am awful at) and they won't get sore wrists from copying copious amounts of notes from the board but is that enough?
I really think that we are on the cusp of change here in education. I am sick and tired about hearing about 21st century learners needing 21st century methods. We are almost 12% of the way through the 21st century. It is time to change our pedagogy and inspire others do so as well. If you are not keen to change and be inspired, you should go and work in a fish and chip shop!