After reading several articles and watching videos on 21st Century Learning, several colleagues and I discussed our reactions to what we read/watched. We held our discussion on an asynchronous writing tool called Typewith.me. I found the collaborative note-taking to be an interesting experience. I could see what struck others as important and they could respond to what I thought was important in a very casual environment. Typewith.me was very easy to use. You don’t need a username or profile; you only need to type in the group name to enter. Without whistles and bells, it did rather feel like an “old school” chat room, especially with the different colors for the different authors.
Here’s what we read and watched:
- 21st Century Skills framework
- National Educational Technology Standards
- The Myths and Opportunities of Technology in the Classroom
- Josh Stumpenhorst, 2012 Teacher of the Year
- The Waldorf Way – Silicon Valley Schools
- A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute
- Tech Happy Professor Reboots After Hearing is Teaching Advice Isn’t Working
- Teaching without Technology
These readings bring up many questions about technology usage in education. One question is easy to answer: Has technology redefined learning? Yes, of course it has. We can’t ignore technology. It’s all around us. In my school we have TV’s in every teachers’ classroom and in the office. The librarian and groups of students create televised morning announcements, in which they read the daily cafeteria menu and talk about sporting and school events in front of a video camera. The teachers can borrow digital projectors to use in the classroom. We used to have a SmartBoard in the school. I assume it’s still there, I just haven’t seen it in use for a while. Each classroom has at least one computer, however older than the Stone Age, and some rooms have other computers for the students. We also have a computer lab and a Computer / Keyboarding class. The students know how and enjoy using technology at school. They’re much more interested when I show them pictures and videos on the digital project than when I ask them to look at images in the textbook. I think technology could play an even bigger part in the classroom than that. Wouldn’t the students be excited to explore a topic through an interactive WebQuest? Or what if the students created and maintained a classroom blog about all the projects they did in class? They could post images of their art projects and write about various artists and art movements. They would be more engaged and get more out of their education if they used these technologies rather than listening to a teacher lecture and taking notes with pencil and paper while reading a textbook. The “Tech Happy Professor” article states that students only remember about 20% of the material discussed during a lecture. Technology is redefining education, and it should.