Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"It's Not about the Technology"

A Vision of Students Today by Michael Wesch describes about 75% of my college experience. I always spend lots of money on books I barely(if at all) use, half of my classmates don't come to class, and I'm just not motivated to concentrate during class or participate in class because I know all my teacher is concerned with is that I pass the tests. Now there are exceptions to this, EDM310 for example as well as a few other classes I have taken. The exceptions are generally the classes I take the most from and the classes that I most enjoy. When a teacher finds a way to challenge students in other things than just spitting back facts and figures thats been crammed down our throats it's actually quite enjoyable. I think all teachers should watch this video and it should be a wake up call on what they can do so that these students in the video are not their students.

"It's Not about the Technology" is an article by Kelly W. Hines. In this article Ms. Hines talks about that it's not the technology that is the essential part that is missing in schools. In fact it's the teacher's lack of use of technology or actually knowing how to use and implement the technology available to them in the classrooms.

I definitely agree with her one hundred percent. We can complain all we want that funding isn't there for technology, we need it, blah, blah, blah. Let's be honest, almost every school is equipped with computers and the internet and there are countless tools available to us for free online. In fact, we are learning to use many of them in this class.

So why aren't we (I'm including myself as a future teacher) using technology that is easily available to us? Simple, we aren't taking the time to become learners ourself so that we can relate to our students and be able to teach them in an environment where sometimes they are more knowledgeable than we are. It is easier to teach our specific material just as we were taught and not try to adapt to the new technological age that we are living in. I understand this because I am planning on teaching math, when has math changed? Not really at all for many years. So why should I change a teaching method that has been used for hundreds of years? Easy, because people have changed over hundreds of years and I as a teacher have a responsibility to bring something new to the class room to make an old subject seem fresh and exciting for students to learn.

Mr. Karl Fisch posted an enlightening article called "Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?" In this blog post he poses that very simple question and then goes on to explain his thoughts on that. He compares teachers being technologically illiterate in the 21st century to teachers in the 20th century who couldn't read. An extreme analogy? I don't think so and here is why.

If you take time to think about it it's really not that extreme at all. I will borrow Mr. Fisch's examples. In the beginning of the 20th century people who could not read could still be successful but that changed dramatically in passing years. Towards the end of the 20th century (late 1990's) however it was almost impossible to hold a good job or enter into career without knowing how to read. So knowing how important reading was could you have imagined having a teacher who couldn't read??

Now think about this, in the beginning of the 21st century (early 2000's) you could still get by with little to no technology knowledge or use (If you don't count cell phones, tv's, or camera's as technology). Now however, I can barely think of anything that in some form doesn't use technology. To give you a personal example, My dad last year lost his job due to the company downsizing because of the economy. My dad had been with this company many, many years and it had been quite sometime since he had to go on a job hunt. It only took a few weeks for him to call me very frustrated. His frustrations were that he was not very proficient on a computer and virtually every job he wanted to apply for did their entire hiring process online or through the computer somehow, not to mention just to find job listings you really have to go online. Online profiles, virtual resumes, computer qualifications, and many more things were all things he wasn't familiar with. It was not like he remembered where you go in with a simple paper application, paper resume, and you have a face-to-face interview where you had the chance to win over your future employer with your personality and drive. This just isn't the case anymore.

So if my dad encountered this many problems in simply trying to find a new job I can only imagine what young students who are not taught to be technologically literate will face in the future. As teachers can we really expect our students to do something that we are not doing or learning? Do as I say, not as I do? I just don't think it works nor is it morally right. We have a responsibility as teachers to teach students how to be successful in the world they are growing up in.

WOW is all I have to say about Gary Hayes Social Media Count. It was a counter that showed how many things were going on on social network and such in the few short seconds that you were on that site. The numbers were astounding!! It only affirmed my thought that EVERYONE should be technologically literate.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post Christina! You covered all of the bases very well.

    I especially like your comments on the Wesch video. It is so important that as teachers we engage our students' minds not just their memories. This is why I am proud to be a part of the EDM 310 experiment. In this course you must think and as Dr. Strange says, "Bring your brain". Requiring students to think about and manage their own learning makes the learning experience more meaningful and therefore more complete.

    Keep up the good work. SS