Friday, January 10, 2014

A Tale of Two Views of Technology

After reading both of these articles, my head was spinning in both directions. In Beyond Technology Integration: The case for Transformation, there is an air of hope for the future with all of the new technology that will afford all students to be able to be taught with their individual needs being met on all fronts. The second article, Of Luddites, learning, and life, I felt like some old curmudgeon, grumbling about how technology may be moving forward but, darn it, it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I kept expecting to read something about reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic.
Somewhere between these two differing feelings towards where they thought technology from the time they authors wrote these articles, 1993 and 2002, are bits of what has come to be. As technology has advanced many schools have jumped on board and have forgotten some of the basic needs students need to acquire or grow into developmentally. I found myself agreeing with Neil Postman’s statements about schools main purpose being to teaching kids how to work in groups. I did not want to agree with him because he seemed against technology. But as I see schools getting grants for new great techie things, but not taking time to implement it in effective, meaningful ways or worse forcing it down teaches throats, I found myself agreeing with some of Postman’s thoughts. Just some though.
Charles M. Reigluth and Roberto Joseph the need for students to learn things to mastery and how their individual learning needs can be met. However, in my experience in lower elementary, mastery doesn’t seem to be a goal. This can especially be seen in math. As far as students having personal learning plans, that is fine as long as the students can have the same assessment.  Now I sound like a curmudgeon!

I don’t believe all hope is lost. I do think teachers need to be given a little bit more freedom in how to teach their students. I have worked with some brilliant teachers whose creative efforts have been stifled in the way of progress. Some of these teachers are afraid of technology. If they had somebody who could observe their teaching and give them ideas they may be more likely to explore other ways of using technology in their instruction. As educators we owe it to our students to be open to the wonderful new things that come along and still teach students to how to be students. 

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