Thursday, July 30, 2009

Technology Is Changing Our World But What About Our Schools?

I just started reading The World Is Open by Curtis J. Bonk and it has really got me thinking about the overwhelming task that we have in education in regards to ensuring that our students have experience utilizing the most current technologies. What makes this task more difficult is the fact that the world outside of schools is changing at an incomprehensible pace while we do our best inside of schools to make steady progress adding as many technological resources for both staff and students.

In addition, over a relatively short period of time, technology has gone from a stand alone subject taught outside of the regular curriculum to a subject that should be integrated into every subject matter. Most educators and parents do not realize the scope of this paradigm shift due to the simple fact that the schools that we experienced were vastly different to what is needed to compete in today's world.

For example, Do you Google? Are you on FaceBook? What are you following on Twitter? Do you have a blog or follow any particular blogs? Unfortunately, these questions are not even touching the tip of this ever expanding iceberg.

Here are a few snippets from The World Is Open that have me thinking:

  • The Web has become prime real estate for educational programming about the environment, climate change, history, politics, and nearly any topic you can think of. What few people realize is that as the Web becomes our preferred learning platform, nontraditional learning is suddenly the norm. Lifelong learning dreams discussed decade after decade in the twentieth century are quickly being realized in the twenty-first. (p.5)
  • Anyone can now learn anything from anyone at anytime.(p.7)
  • In the twenty-first century, education trumps economy as the key card to participation in the world. (p.8)
  • In less than 10 years, we have shifted from e-mail and relatively simple online services and activities to opportunities for downloading massive amounts of high and low quality videos, producing and sharing music online, connecting multiple sites in full-motion videoconferencing, and engaging in online chats with dozens of friends simultaneously. (p.11)

I know that the concept of using cellphones as a tool in the classroom created a great deal of constructive conversation this spring as we amended our current zero-tolerance policy on cellphones at BHS to allow cellphone use at the discretion of the classroom teacher. I

I think that we need to continue to think way outside of our box and comfort zone to see the ever-expanding options that new technologies can offer our students.

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