As much as you’d like to believe there are only two crowds here – one crowd of competent ed-technophiles and another of ignorant ed-technophobes – there is a crowd of teachers milling about the faculty lounge that gets this stuff, that enjoys this stuff even, but that needs a sales pitch less emotional and more practical when it comes to classroom integration.
Enter Dina Strasser’s seven skeptical questions, which lays our inner monologues out for everybody else. I swear, if y’all would just read and link and del.icio.us this up, I’d never have to write about my classroom tech reservations again. Hers are that comprehensive.
- Does this value-added, teacher-independent learning relate DIRECTLY to my content objectives and standards?
Sorry. “Universally related” or “indirectly related” just doesn’t cut it–this is the open door for uncritical idolatry. For example, I have never understood the lumbering Godzilla-like argument that because our kids are “digital natives,” we should de facto use tech in school. Why? If using tech is as natural to them as breathing, isn’t this like asking us to teach kids to breathe?
If you’re a tech coordinator, -evangelist or -salesperson, you’d do well to read the rest and realize that, if you can’t sell your particular product [Twitter, Skype, Ustream, whatever] to a tech-savvy teacher who has outlined her every objection in advance, then you will find deaf ears everywhere else as well.
Arthus EreaFebruary 9, 2008 - 9:29 am -
But if using tech is as natural as breathing, then aren’t many schools asking students to suffocate?
Sue KingFebruary 9, 2008 - 11:44 am -
I think I have a different take on the conversation about integrating technologies in the classroom. The discussion I have seen, heard, been part of is not centered around using technology because kids use it/live it. It is centered around examining what we are really teaching kids in school. In Gary Staeger’s session at Educon 2.0, he used the phrase “more them, less us.” That is what I think the conversation is about. As entertaining and fascinating as a teacher may be in their classroom – unless kids are part of the learning process – unless they are invested and engaged in what they are learning – unless they are in some way making meaning of what they are learning – something is missing. Technology – in many different ways – allows us to get at those issues – meaning-making, relevance, engagement, etc. Until we move away from teacher-centered instruction to teacher-designed/guided learning opportunities – technology will just be an add-on.
Lisa-GayeFebruary 9, 2008 - 11:55 am -
Bravo Arthus! and I’d like you to know that, as a teacher in classrooms with little technology I too feel like I am suffocating…and I don’t like how I have to teach in theose classrooms.
Sue – I like your twist on this strand of the same conversation; your final sentence says it all.
Chris LehmannFebruary 9, 2008 - 2:58 pm -
Yeah… reads well to me. I want people to work on progressive pedagogy and harness the tech tools to make it better, not use tech and hope it makes things better.
jeffreygeneFebruary 9, 2008 - 5:05 pm -
dan – thanks for passing this along! dina’s post really resonates.
i think the biggest and sometimes sidelined aspect of these edublog debates on tech in education is the issue of access. if arthur and and lisa-gaye are in school communities where access to tech is limited, that obviously colors their perspective, and they should undoubtedly be pushing for more tech. however for someone like myself, working in a school where we’ve got 1 laptop for every 2 students, isn’t it understandable that i’m not too antsy about incorporating more tech into my lessons? i use it when it fits and when it doesn’t take away too much instructional time from the rest of what we’re doing (dina’s third question).
well…i don’t think this short comment ties up all the thoughts that’ve been unleashed. but it’s a start!
danFebruary 10, 2008 - 9:08 am -
Amen to the chicken/egg scenario posed by Sue and affirmed by Lisa & Chris.
Steve MaddenMay 2, 2008 - 7:06 am -
Inevitably, it makes sense to teach the students how
to learn. There won’t always be a teacher or professor
guiding them in all the countless subjects they have
to research and learn on their own. If we can become
more facilitators and determine the role of technology
as a future learning vehicle, then its a better perspective
to take. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the
student sometimes and understand what their
learning and research atmopshere will be today and in
My 2 Cents
Paul BMay 4, 2008 - 5:03 am -
There’s a problem with tech for tech’s sake if you assume tech means using it in the context of the structures we have today in public education.
For example if you simply see tech as a ‘replacement’ for teacher delivery or a portion of it, then right, it’s not really much diff and probably a good argument could be made that it’s worse.
I imagine a different paradigm. I see a treatment on fractions by 50 Cent, directed by Norman Lear, delivered on a CD in every classroom in the country. I see technology used such that every piece of work done by a student is instantly corrected, fedback to the student, reported to an analyst, and made an active part of their next lesson, delivered by Tiger Woods, directed by Speilberg, repeat.
We have to stop thinking about ways to improve the existing paradigm. It’s bigger than Wal Mart. It’s a monopoly. It’s a dino. And, It’s broken.
My passion is that technology can be applied in amazing ways but not in our current looking glass.