Odds and Ends

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a freshman technology class at a local high school. I tried hard not to gasp and shake my head in wonderment. What I observed was wrong on two levels: 1) a separate course on “computers” was still being taught and 2) the course curriculum was devoted primarily to hardware, software, firmware, networking, the Internet, etc. (what I refer to in the title as “hardcore technology”). All straight out of the 1980’s, 90’s, and 00’s. In fact the computer being used by the teacher to demonstrate the hardware parts was obviously a very old desktop, an object, I would bet, many of the students had never seen in operation. I didn’t stay long enough to see how the teacher would explain the 3.5-inch disk drive. Strangely, to top it off, each student in the classroom was taking notes on a newer iPad (required purchase). Who taught them to take notes on a notetaking app? NOBODY! They taught themselves. (I’m pretty sure it was Evernote.) This is, of course, an anomaly isn’t it? Surely the vast majority of our schools have moved on to focusing on learning and integrating technology into their curriculum and classrooms as appropriate to enhance learning.

And then there is Scott McLeod’s (Dangerously Irrelevant) observation regarding “3 kinds of ISTE sessions”: 1) Tools, Tools, Tools; 2) Technology for school replication (perpetuate schools’ historical emphases on factual recall and procedural regurgitation): and finally 3) Technology for school transformation (focus on deeper learning, greater student agency, and perhaps real-world, authentic work). This emphasis on tools and replication is, of course, an anomaly isn’t it? Surely the vast majority our vendors have moved on to focusing on learning and integrating technology into their curriculum and classrooms as appropriate to enhance learning.

And then do a Google search for “the future of education.” Note that the discussions on the first few pages of hits (I quit after looking through the first few) are more about the future of technology in education than education, learning/learning models, pedagogy, or classroom management (except as a byproduct of ed tech). Of course later pages would begin to focus more on education. Surely the vast majority of blogs and Internet discussions have moved on to focusing on learning and integrating technology into their curriculum and classrooms as appropriate to enhance learning.

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