Monday, April 18, 2011

A Day Made of Glass

Foreshadowing for our Future... via Corning:

There is a lot of hype surrounding technology in education right now.  Most understand the added benefits; however, some are still on the fence about whether the gadgets of tomorrow are simply toys for students or perhaps an ever changing trend that is impossible to keep up with - especially considering the money involved.  To what degree should schools implement technology integration into the curriculum and content areas?  -- and with what products should one invest to get the biggest instructional bang for his or her buck?

Many districts are cutting not only programs and resources but also staff.  In a struggling economy, how can a district expect to keep up?  How important is technology in the classroom?  Can the resources we, as teachers, currently have available be effective enough to produce the same academic results as other more affluent districts?  When we do have funds available, how should they be allocated?  Are teachers 'savvy' enough to seamlessly integrate technology while still covering the standards without feeling overwhelmed?

Regardless of the answers to the above questions, one aspect is certain: our children truly are living in a would we are just getting use to.  As they're growing up being immersed in such an environment, we are training ourselves to maintain on the curve.  I reflect on my own elementary days when my family got our first computer - we used Prodigy to social network and our copy machine was larger than our love seat.  Believe it or not - Google didn't exist (how did we survive?).  Televisions were 'snubbed' in the classroom; however, by the time I reached middle school, they were a norm - in fact, we were then required to partake in certain programming.  In high school, I brought my 'pager' to school and stopped off to use a pay phone when I received a beep.  I always had spare change.  By the time I reached college, I could drive down the road while talking to a friend or family member (not that I ever did that!).  As a college student, I completed many of my courses online, participated in discussions with peers from all over the world, and never submitted an assignment that harmed a tree.  Now, as a mother, my daughter who is six has her own Webkinz account, receives itunes gift cards for holidays, downloads ebooks for car rides, and enriches her math skills using her school's curriculum created applications on my iPad through Everyday Math.  My son, who just turned three this month, handles my iPad as if it is his sippy cup.  The device is not foreign to him at all but rather second nature.  He navigates the gadget by turning it on via the home button, goes to his folder, selects the app he wishes to play, and practices his fine motor development and skills for learning.  Will my children even have the discussion when building or remodeling: granite or laminate?  stainless steal or not? or will it simply be glass -- after all, my first car was a stick shift... and I had to roll my windows down by rotating a knob on my car door!

In short, what will tomorrow bring?  What is our mission for preparing students?  Is it that kids are becoming less motivated and engaged - or are we becoming less in touch with their world?

In preparation for gearing up kids to be college and career ready, how are we best preparing our future?  How many iPads does your class have?  computers?  How is your school using project-based learning that is pedagogically sound with an emphasis on technology?  Are students working collaboratively, networking (internationally), and how immediate of feedback are we providing?

I believe the Corning model is here already... are schools?

An Educational Revolution: a must see by Sir Ken Robinson


  1. Excellent post and questions! I've seen both the Corning and the Sir Ken Robinson videos before but thoroughly enjoyed watching them again.

    It is a new world with innovation exploding at a pace that we have never had to navigate through before. There is of course also movement occurring in school systems. Older teacher are retiring and new teachers and school administrators are coming on stream. Not that younger automatically means better or more adaptive (I'm old and adaptive - case in point lol)

    From my perspective the question is around the cost of having folks make decisions about what to adopt or not to adopt when it comes to technology (or pedagogy or processes) in schools. I've seen lots of really poorly informed decisions made by folks that lack insight into what's just around the bend.

    I myself bought a Sony Reader a month before the Kindle and the iPad came out (ouch $500.00 paperweight now lol). Thankfully I don't make tech decisions for school boards. My fear is that someone even less informed than me does.

  2. Erin,
    Thanks for posting Ken's TED speech. I hadn't seen this one yet. I thoroughly enjoy his talks. From this one, I have such an appreciation of his comments about Kindergartner's and their resumes! Sometimes parents will ask me "What does my kid need to know for Kindergarten?" My Early Childhood/Child Development background kicks in and I say "They simply need to know they are 5!" I LOVE that is response to the comment "College starts in Kindergarten"; he said "KINDERGARTEN starts in KINDERGARTEN!" Ken's comment "You can't predict the outcome of human development" really struck a chord. It nearly brought me to tears..OK so it DID bring me to tears.(Not sure if it's Ken or hormones! ;-)
    I struggle constantly with what I believe in my heart to be good for kids, and the direction of many facets of education. The notion that somehow, by the year 2015, we'll all be at the same intellectual level makes me a little crazy. The idea that every child will pass a certain (standardized) test at 100% is unrealistic. To quote Ken again..."Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability!" THANK YOU KEN!!! His reference to our education system as related to fast food was also a point that struck me. Do we really WANT a society where everyone has the same answer to every question? Who among them will step out and be the creators and innovators? (Wasn't there a movie about that...Stepford Wives?? That didn't work out too well did it? I know, I am telling my age here!) ;-)
    I could go on and on.... Suffice to say, I appreciate your post! ;-) Now I have to send the video out to my friends! ;-)

  3. Ken Robinson is truly amazing. I am fortunate to be working in a school that has a team who is "driving" a move towards positive psychology as a whole school.
    I am glad I have found you - I think we have a lot in common (I am a special ed teacher and a mum of two.) I love looking for new ideas but unfortunately I am not too savvy in the technology department.
    I am now a keen subscriber and look forward to following you.