Everyday as I peruse through the blogs feed into my Google Reader I come across article after article about technology and its use in the modern classroom. Numerous subtopics are explored around the importance of technology literacy for both students and teachers and about how we can best develop these skills. Others discuss more philosophical questions like; will immersing students in more online learning reduce their ability to think deeply and focus intently or, should we expend any of our time and resources on this type of learning since our students, whom are digital natives, already spend so much time online during their own free time after school?
All of these are great discussions but today I had the opportunity to read an interview of Will Richardson, a former teacher-turned tech expert, in Education Week. His insights into why we MUST be teaching these skills seemed to approach it from a much more practical sense and linked it to the bigger picture of what we are trying to accomplish in our schools across this country. He explained (please read the article for a more thorough and articulate summary) that the current path we are headed down; an educational practice focused on academic knowledge with an emphasis on testing to measure success is "just silly" and we need to start focusing on transforming our educational system, not reforming it.
Read the article here!
The part I also found most interesting as a technology teacher who teaches web 2.0 skills and knowledge with a focus on teaching students how to learn versus what; was that our students and us educators need to be "Googleable". We all need to have a "G-Portfolio" since our classrooms and our students are going to be searched over and over again in the future on Google and other search engines. That is just the reality of the modern world and our modern classrooms. Parents, college admissions, and prospective employers are all going to be searching our students in the future. So I agree with Mr. Richardson, that we need to stop being naive and focusing on what students should not be doing online and refocus our efforts on teaching them how to develop a positive online identity; our "G-Portfolio". Now, as I have said before, maybe we need to stop blocking so many social networking sites on our campuses across this country and start teaching our students how to use them in a productive, positive, and safe manner. Doing this, will help them to be ready to compete in the 21st century workplace which is becoming more and more collaborative and connected. We need our students to know how to learn, solve problems, and work collaboratively in digitally connected world. They need to be life long learners, just like we are as educators. Do we really think a good standardized test score is going to equip our students for success? Or, would a high quality and developed "G-Portfolio" be more helpful........ What do you think?
Welcome to Modern Educator
Here on this blog I hope to get a conversation going amongst students, teachers, administrators, and parents about who, what, when, why, and where we should teach technology skills for the 21st century. I am technology teacher at Truckee High School in Truckee, CA and currently teach classes like digital media, e-learning, applications, and keyboarding -- yes...still important! :) Please Join the Conversation!