Sunday, March 11, 2012

The appropriate output for the appropriate input

Class this week really got to my problems with the use of technology in education: are we using technology because it enhances the lesson, or are we using it because it's new. I especially get passionate when we talk about the fact that in the real world, those types of Glogster pages and crappy Powerpoints are acceptable. Sure, the business world accepts them now, when not everyone knows better and the person in charge is impressed that you even tried to begin with. I think this is why I always felt technologically savvier than most, because I knew how to find a missing file, or connect the laptop to the computer properly. But in an increasingly competitive world, our last-minute, minimal crap won't work.

Now, that being said, we can't reinvent the wheel overnight, and we can't change the face of educational technology by ourselves. But, are we going to stand back and approve of something when we know that the students (and the teachers for that matter) of capable of better? I say no, because I don't accept that as the future of the world that I want to live in.

So, how do we change, when there is clearly a line between who has the technology, who has the access, and those who have nothing at all? I certainly think that things such as Raspberry Pi are a step in the right direction. Sure, it's not a sexy computer, I mean it's little more than a motherboard with some input ports on it, but it's affordable for those schools and students who have nothing, having anything is a step in the right direction.
I also think that rethinking our understanding of how learning and technology should be integrated is key. It's not about developing specific skills, anyone can follow a list of directions, it's about developing an understanding of the content. Not what buttons to click, but why we should or shouldn't click those buttons. It's not about not copying and pasting because we'll get a bad score, but not copying and pasting because we're infringing on the intellectual property of someone else.

So, where do we go from here? I suggest educating yourself, then sharing your knowledge. It reminds me of the poem by Shel Silverstein Melinda Mae How do you eat a whale (influence and change how technology is taught)? One bite at a time (one person/class at a time). Hopefully it doesn't take 89 years, like it took Melinda Mae


  1. I LOVE that poem :) I feel like a lot we attempt as librarians is going to be "one step at a time." The changes that need to happen can get a little overwhelming, but perhaps you're right in thinking that one person/one class at a time is a good way to departmentalize it. Deep breath.

  2. Maybe part of the problem is that the business world IS accepting those crappy presentations right now. If we start to change in education, will it trickle to the business world? Or is it vice versa? Ugh. So confusing!

  3. I think there is a tendency to liven up a lackluster lesson plan by infusing it with some technology requirements--but if the underlying lesson is bad, no amount of fancy Web 2.0 tools will cure that.


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