this month I asked if we educational technology advocates could articulate a
clear vision of what lies at the other end of all of this change for which we’re
advocating. In other words, what does the end result look like? Can we
articulate the desired state of things in a clear, concise manner that’s easily
conveyable to others?
Here are a few responses to my post:
Chase: The end result is a classroom in which students’ personal needs are
first recognized and valued by a teacher who takes the time to learn who each
student is as an individual and then uses the limitless reach of tools, 1.0 and
2.0, to create a learning experience that encourages shared ownership and
Gross: A motivated student will learn in spite of us, in spite of how we
teach. The vision at the end of the tunnel is a student who can enter society
knowing who and where he/she is and where he/she is going. . . . My vision would
be a classroom full of kids teaching and learning from each other. Teaching is
changing almost as rapidly as technology and the kids know far more about how to
use it to arrive at their ends than we do.
Mercer: we should teach Three C’s: critical thinking, creativity and
continuous learning. I suppose it could also be critical thinking, creativity,
Brown: I believe Scott’s ideas are, indeed, what an engaged classroom looks
like. An engaged classroom being a place where student’s experiences and
learning last longer and have a deeper impact than the upcoming state test.
Warlick: What McLeod is looking at is important, what the teaching and
learning experience should look like. But I wonder if this is a bit premature,
that perhaps we should go back to his question and take it out another notch,
What should the end result, the person who graduates from our schools, look
like? It seems that with the answer to this question, we might better envision
what their schooling experience should be. First of all, I see graduates who can
teach themselves. I’m starting to call this learning literacy, and I think that
it is THE literacy we should be teaching – the skills to resourcefully use your
information environment to help yourself learn what you need to know, to do what
you need to do. I would also want to see graduates who know who, what, where,
and when they are. They need to have developed a comfortable and confident sense
of their culture, their physical environment, their geographic environment, and
their historic circumstance – a context for their experience, one that they hold
in common with people they will interact with, collaborate with, and enjoy the
company of. They would also be skilled in adapting to new circumstances – able
to learn, unlearn, and relearn (Alvin Toffler). Then we think of what the
classrooms, teachers, textbooks, technology, blah blah blah, need to look like
to accomplish this.
Patterson: I agree with David’s point that the metacognitive process is key.
Metacognitive literacy — understanding of how one/others learn. Social literacy
— understanding how to peaceably navigate the changing world. (From the
playground to the floor of the UN.) Environmental literacy — understanding our
place in the earth, and that of others. Literacy — oh yeah, and understanding
how to read and comprehend.
- Heather Ross: The tools
and rules are rapidly changing and will continue to do so. Our goal should be to
do our best to make sure that the learners know how to find the information they
will need, but also what to do with that information.
These are all fabulous posts/comments, but here’s my new question:
what if these visions aren’t compelling enough? What
if people in our organization listen to these carefully, treat them seriously,
and then say, “No thanks. Not interested?” What if we give it our best
shot and people don’t buy into it? Then what?
In short, this might be what’s wrong with public education today. The world changes faster than we do. This vision had best be compelling enough or we slip further behind. I think we already see it in many non tech classrooms today, the kids have cell phones, pagers, blackberries, etc and we’re still standing in front of them “talking at them”, pointing to an ancient map or chart. Teachers are too comfortable using the proven methods and are “too busy” to even experiment with any “new” methods, and administration isn’t nervy enough to facilitate change because many administrators are also from the old school and don’t understand where change will take us and how valuable technology can be in the classroom. Really all they’re interested in is how do they meet their budgets handed to them by school boards who are mainly interested in funding this new “cash cow”.
I see this in my Penn State online courses. Students are asked to do projects and the variety of presentation methods vary widely from multi media all the way back to simply using a word processor. It’s not difficult to tell which districts are technology oriented and which aren’t, just from the teacher/student usage in what’s turned in as assignments.
That’s what adoption curves are for. Naturally everyone won’t buy into something at once, and very few people will buy into something untested. So if they listen and won’t have it, wait a little while, find more use cases, and try again. If you’re/we’re right, they’ll eventually buy in. If we’re not, then good for them for not succumbing to our silver tongues!
It seems obvious to me that a vision created outside yourself will never be good enough, for any age learner. We should be facillitating epiphanies, not trying to make other people re-experience our own.
That said, I think it’s the learning stories that count, and that’s about process, not the end result.
Okay, I think in reading what David Warlick has said recently he has one of the most powerful messages about what these tools are for (learning is about a process, not an end goal), but the summary you have here is not doing it justice because it is too long. There is a compromise between my overly simplistic one line above and the paragraph there, I think it might be worth finding it?