Tag Archives: Howard Rheingold

Fear is a prison

Fear is a prison

As Howard Rheingold notes,

The technology affords an environment in which students [can] take on more of the power and responsibility for their own learning.

But we don’t see that. Instead, we see

a hype-and-bust cycle that goes back to the personal computer. Look at all the marvelous things technology is going to do! And then it doesn’t happen.

And the reason, as Rheingold correctly identifies, is

the secret, or maybe not so secret, agenda, which is that the classroom is really for teaching compliance. That was useful when societies were transforming from agrarian to industrial, but it’s less than useful in a world where you’re going to need to be thinking critically about the information you find.

And there we have – all tidy and neat – the biggest barrier to effective technology integration in today’s schools, even in those 1:1 environments that provide computing devices for every student. We could be (should be!) utilizing technology to empower youth at school but instead it’s still about control. That’s why we have acceptable use policies, not empowered use policies. And that’s why in most classrooms we continue to see replicative uses of technology rather than transformative uses. It doesn’t matter that computers are the most powerful learning devices ever invented in all of human history if we’re afraid to lets kids fly.

Fear is a prison. And empowerment within tightly-constrained, adult-directed parameters isn’t really empowerment.

 

[Guiding question: What can we do to give students more agency and ownership of what they learn, when they learn, how they learn, and how they show what they’ve learned?]

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Connected Educator Month launches today

Connectededucatormonth2012

August 2012 is officially Connected Educator Month here in the U.S. Today is the first of the month and there are a variety of launch events occurring, including multiple keynotes, webinars, online chats, and panel discussions. My session today is titled Connected Education and Peer Professional Development. The people who are way smarter than me who also will be participating in that session are Howard Rheingold, Tom Whitby, Judi Fusco, and Steve Hargadon. Check out the entire day’s schedule and see what other enticing events lie in store for the rest of the month. Be sure to also explore the blog, book clubpublications area, and online communities. Hope you’ll join us and maybe even get involved yourself!