Posted in 504 Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology

2012 Vision Statement

Roadmap

According to Cathy Davidson, prior Duke University Professor and co-director of the annual MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, “65 percent of today’s grade-school kids may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet.”  Fifteen years ago Facebook, Google, iPhone, apps, YouTube, Twitter, and Wikipedia didn’t even exist.  Yet now these tools have become household names.  These inventions are not only shaping a new work force, but they are shifting the very way we conduct our lives.

With this in mind, a 21st century education is one that reflects our extreme access to information and interactions.  It equips students to decisively sieve through massive quantities of information.  It prepares them to evaluative new applications and adopts new skills daily.  These students will mange large complex communication networks and use technology tools for virtual collaboration.  Preparation for these skills requires we revitalize certain notions about the landscapes of education.

The US Department of Education National Education Technology Plan identified 21st learning frontiers as: inquiry/adventure based, online collabortories, mapping, augmented reality platforms, crowd sourcing, mobile applications, published content, and interactive simulations.  Contrary to today model, these environments often define the role of teacher as facilitator and student as explorer.

Technology use simply, is not technology integration.  In fact, authentic technology integration is when a teacher and a child don’t stop to think they’re integrating technology into learning (Edutopia).  The focus for educators now must be how to bridge the gap between technology integration in the real life vs. school life.

References

MindShift. (n.d.). How Do We Prepare Our Children for What’s Next? Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/tag/school-day-of-the-future/

U.S. Department of Education. (2010) National Education Technology Plan 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010

Edutopia. (n.d.). What is technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description

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Posted in 504 Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology, All

Teaching Beliefs vs Practices

Originally Posted February 2012

I fell into teaching in an unlikely way.  I was a kid who didn’t like school, so my rationale for becoming a teacher was to make the system better than it was when I went through it.  “If I was president,” I used to say, “schools would be places where kids could learn about things they were interested in.”  Somehow by the time I was in the 7th grade, the word “learn” equaled “school” which equaled “rigid and boring.”   “My classroom,” I said with confidence after a few years of homeschooling, “will be a place are really interested in the work that they do.”

Now that I’ve been invested on the other end I realize how complex educating really is.  When my classroom is functioning best my students have choices. They can choose seats, work with different partners,  pick projects to work on, and gather resources around the room as they see fit.  When I’m patient and listen I see my kids explore, struggle, discuss, and finally discover for themselves. These are the moments when I feel like a real educator. But these moments seem to be more and more difficult to justify.

Unfortunately, while students who are primarily engaged in Project-Based learning turn out to be better field practitioners, they don’t score as well as kids who follow a main stream classroom models on standardized tests as.  As a novice teacher I steal time from students’ discovery process to drill so I can guarantee they’ll be ready to pass state mandated tests.   Test dates can’t be prolonged for discovery processes to unfold and so we prepare our kids to take and pass tests.

Below I’ve created a graph to represent my beliefs vs. what actually happens in the classroom.  The text in blue represents technology I use to achieve these two very different learning goals.  Double click to enlarge it in a new window.