David Warlick‘s blog serves up a lot of stuff to make teachers think (cynically, I wonder whether education administrators can be shoved into thinking at all . . . but I digress).
Recently he pondered his own son’s use of several different kinds of media at once. In a longer discussion that would be worth your while, someone asked, “Has the nature of information influenced the emerging ‘appropriate technologies’ like the digital learning object called an iBook?” David responded:
My knee-jerk response is, “Not nearly enough.” This current push toward digital textbooks, urged on by our Secretary of Education, concerns me. I worry that we’re engaged in a race to modernize schooling, rather than a sober and thoughtful imagining and designing of learning materials and practices that are more relevant to today’s learners (ourselves include), today’s information landscape and a future that has lost the comforts of certainty, but become rich with wondrous opportunities.
What I enjoyed, though, about my experience in publishing an iBook was learning to hack some features into the book that were not part of Apples general instructions for using their publishing tool. This is the ultimate opportunity of digital learning objects and environments, that they can be hacked into new and better learning experiences by information artisans who see what’s there and what it can become.
In a cynical mood, I commented on an earlier statement Warlick made, about how technology has changed the education landscape:
“… we live in a time of no unanswered questions.”
1. The internet and especially portable devices have exponentially increased the probability that difficult questions will be answered incorrectly.
2. For teachers, no longer is it possible to ask a simple, factual question as a teaser to get students to search for the answer, and thereby learn something deeper along the way. Portable computer devices present one more non-print medium in which education appears to be abdicating its duties, and the war. (We missed radio, film, television, recorded television, and desk-top computing; now we’re missing portable devices.)
3. No question goes unanswered, but what is really rare is a question that is worth answering; even more rare, that good question that can be answered well from free internet sources.
Darrell’s Education Technology Corollary: When administrators and policy makers tell educators (especially teachers) they wish to utilize “new technology,” they mean they want new ways to figure out ways to fire teachers, because they don’t have a clue how technology can be used in education, nor have they thought broadly enough about what education is.
Darrell’s Education Technology Corollary Corollary: When a teacher effectively uses technology in a classroom, it will be at the teacher’s instigation, the teacher’s expense, and administrators will get revenge on the teacher for having done so.
I’ve wondered whether I wasn’t too cynical; David offered a solid response.
A couple of weeks later, my cynicism is growing. I’m warning you, teachers, you adopt new technologies at your risk, often — especially in some school districts like Dallas ISD.
It’s a caution only. Teachers, being teachers, will continue to push the envelopes, as Fionna Larcom related at Warlick’s blog. Good on ‘em. One out of 500,000 will get accolades outside the education system, like Jaime Escalante did. Many others will face reprimand.
But if education is to improve, this experimentation by teachers must continue. So teachers slog on, under-appreciated and often opposed in their attempts to fix things.
Someday a school system will figure out how to unlock teachers’ creativity, knowledge and skills. Not soon enough.
(Can someone explain to me how Warlick’s blog, with much better stuff than I do here, gets fewer hits? Teachers, not enough of you are reading broadly enough.)
More, not necessarily the opinion of this blog:
- New Pub: Educational Technology as a Subversive Activity (matthewkr.com)
- current conditions and future trends of educational technology for 2012 (compassioninpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Teachers Gravitate to Social Networks Tailored for Educators (edweek.org)
- The Rise of the Teacherpreneur (growvc.com)
- The Right Way And The Wrong Way To Use Technology In The Classroom (howtolearn.com)
- MOOCs are a fundamental misperception of how teaching works (computinged.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Educational Technology Blogs for Teachers (educatorstechnology.com)
- How To Succeed in Educational Technology (bostinno.com)
- 50 Educational Podcasts You Should Check Out (classroom-aid.com)
- Teacher Leadership, EdTech , #ETMOOC, oh my! (solve4why.wordpress.com)