As I read Mark Pensky’s article Shaping Tech for the Classroom, I nodded along in agreement. Change is needed and not just doing old things in new ways. We need to do new things in new ways. That’s what education should be about learning how things have been done and looking for new and better ways to do them. Pushing our students and our schools to be innovators, be at the edge of the future instead of balancing somewhere precariously between the past and the present.
Then I realized that the article was written in 2005. Ten years have passed and many of the same issues and ideas are still being discussed. Why? Even the MacArthur foundation report discussing the ways teens use and learn through technology is now seven years old. That means the subjects of the study and the students of the classrooms discussed in Pensky’s article are very likely college students or even professionals by this time. Hypothetically some of them are even teachers.
Why then, if we have been talking about technology in education for the past ten years, actually since the days of Mr. Jefferson, Thomas not George, have we still got classrooms with chalkboards and teachers using SMARTBoards as over priced projectors? Shouldn’t today’s new teachers be tech savy and masters of integrating technology in the classrooms. Yet it seems that statistics show that, in the United States, we aren’t quite there yet and the public believes we have a long way to go.
It is hard to understand why we continue to have these conversations and the call for change is being trumpeted throughout education, yet it only seems to bounce of the walls of policy and funding and leave the teachers in the lurch.
The positive side of it comes from the expanding, or maybe shrinking, world of teacher’s taking the reigns for their own professional development. It is evident everyday on Twitter that the agents of change are knocking down walls and entering into global collaborations to instill change in our profession. On chats like #NT2t, #BFC530, #INZpirED, #whatisschool and, shameless plug, #AfricaEd along with countless others, they’re encouraging one another, sharing ideas and experiences and gathering data to help implement new ideas and programs in their own schools. Its a source of inspiration and hope.
The pundits and the thinkers and politicians will continue to talk about it and tell us how it should happen. But its on the ground where changes occur, and I truly think it is coming. The proof is in the conversations from the real experts.
Tweets about #whatisschool OR #nt2t OR #africaed OR #inzpired OR #bfc530
Image Credit: Villani, Joshua. Eye Popping Cartoons. Digital image. Deviant Art. N.p., 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
I just hope that after another 10 years have past, we still don’t keep talking about this but I guess the ground realities might still be the same in some countries. Great post!
True Sunny. Unfortunately, the reality is there will most likely always be a disparity in available technology for schools in some areas. I see a huge contrast between the school in which I work and the local schools of Accra. I know we all hope that someday education gets the attention and funding needed across the globe to produce creative, critical thinking and technologically adept citizens of the world.
Ten years old! That is surprising isn’t it? I would love to hear from some of these students who, as you said, could already be teachers. What are they doing? How has their experience with technology shaped the way they work and, possibly, teach?
I also think that the change is truly coming, but I wonder if international education will lead some of this change since we are less likely to be held back by policy and politicians. Having said that, not all international schools are created equal in terms of tech integration.
Sometimes I wonder if a stronger organisational body working toward tech integration would help move things along. Or would it hinder the creativity and invite policy and politicians?
I do think we may have an easier opportunity to create change in the international schools. At least in my limited experience it seems that many international schools are more willing to allocate funds and try new ideas.
You raise an interesting question about a stronger organizational body. I think the loose confederation of connected educators is what we need more than some organizational body that comes up with policy. ISTE standards are there as a guide and the rest is up to us to innovate and share.
Do you feel that a loose confederation of connected educators exists? I ask this genuinely as I haven’t been truly connected for very long.
Yes. I think it does exist, but it is very loose. In the Twitter chats that I participate in from time to time I see a lot of overlap of others. So ideas spread in that manner. I don’t know how efficient it is, but I do think it is good. People sharing and asking each other questions with a desire to learn and improve our craft has to be good.