The Quest for Digital Literacy

Learning in a 1:1 Classroom

Technology vs. Education*

I do not make a distinction between education and technology. For me, for my students, they are inseparable. Technology is integrated naturally into the lessons. No one says, “Wow! we get to use the computers today!” We just use them, and other tools, as natural parts of our studies.

I remember visiting the one-room school house my mother attended in Pennsylvania. I remember the hole in the far right hand corner of each desk that held the ink well for their pens. Pen and ink was her technology. They used it as naturally as you and I used paper and pencil in our school days. Paper and pencil was our technology and still is for many.

My students’ “paper and pencil” is made by Dell and communicates in ways paper and pencil never could. We all know from brain research that multi-sensory experiences improve learning and memory. Technology INTEGRATION does exactly that.

The key is the integration. Technology cannot stand alone. Neither can content. Neither can pedagogy. Today’s education, evolving in a world of expanding technological capabilities, must include content, pedagogy, and technology. All three must be naturally blended by educators who are masters of each.

Technology integration with content and best practices excites kids about learning. They are engaged. The technologies my kids use in school are tools they have know for as long as they can remember. They key is that I must teach them HOW to use it to learn. All they had done when they first come to my class is play games. I get to teach them how to create. I get to teach them how to collaborate. I get to show them how to take the linear learning of their textbooks and look deeper into the content and make meaningful connections. And as I do those things, they begin to take responsibility for their own learning. They discover that within themselves is a newly found desire to explore. I have that marvelous privilege of being their guide.

Now, knowing and believing those things as I do, perhaps one can understand why I find it irritating and unacceptable that our State’s Technology Plan is outdated and unfunded. I want to believe that the people on the committee worked hard and brought a lot to the table. I just wish that people who actually teach with tech integration had been part of the process. When I see that the committee is staffed mostly by politicians and businessmen, I wonder how in touch they are with children of their constituents and customers. Where are those who know children and how they learn? I don’t think that is too much to ask when the next committee is formed.

If we are to be preparing students for responsible roles in a technologically advanced society, why is our DOE’s technology website fraught with dead links, unfinished pages, and antiquated information? It speaks to the importance our DOE places on education and educational technology.

Some in our group have decried the length of the Virginia plan as too long. I certainly respect those opinions. It is long. But it is thorough. I did not find it to be redundant. It spoke to me of hard work and purposeful planning. I believe the committee members took their responsibilities seriously and did not simply echo the National plan.

Does all this mean that I want to throw the Hoosier tech plan baby out with the bath? No, not really. I have very high hopes. I believe that we can affect change beginning at the grass roots level. We are currently writing a Technology Plan for our school district. I am pleased to have an active role on that committee. While I cannot predict outcomes, I know that my voice will be heard. I know the voices of others, both like-minded and in rebuttal, will also be heard. And I know, most of all, that each member wants the kids to win. We want them to learn and have the best opportunity for successful, purposeful lives.

Rick

*Note – This post is taken from a document I shared in a Technology Policy class I am taking in the Graduate School at Ball State University.

Advertisements

January 28, 2010 - Posted by | Best Pracitces, Technology Issues | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: