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.
Image Credit: Villani, Joshua. Eye Popping Cartoons. Digital image. Deviant Art. N.p., 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.