A Continuing Conversation about Technology Integration

Last Friday (12-1-06) I reported in 2¢ Worth about an article in eSchool News, Teachers’ Tech Use on the Rise. Will Richardson commented in his blog, pointing out that…

..not once in the article are the words “learn” or “learning” mentioned in the context of teachers or students.

Weblogg-edTeachers Tech Use on the Rise…So?

Richardson is right in making this distinction, though, to be fair, technology can go a long way in helping teachers do their jobs without applying it to learning. Teachers are so tragically constrained by the circumstances of their jobs, that I wouldn’t condemn any use of an appropriate tool, even if it is automating — if it’s helping them do their jobs.

That said, calling attention to the increased use of technology by teachers, and celebrating these findings misses enormous opportunities and overlooks enormous responsibilities as we work to prepare children for their future.

Mr. Sheehy, commented in his blog, Teacher’s Writes, linked back to the Richardson piece, that..

In trying to think through to what the root issue is, I have recently decided that the thing that most plagues conversations about technology and education is the verb “integrating.” It seems every time I hear an administrator or higher ed professor mention technology, this obligatory verb comes attached.

Teacher’s Writes » “Integration” – The term of the enemy

Sheehy continues by describing his experience in the broadcast industry, how MP3 files and harddrives have changed how they do their work and how the are not integrating technology, but that technology is their work. He describes ways that technology is also our work.

I commented on Sheehy’s post with something like this:

I caught your comments on Will Richardson’s blog, and was so taken with your approach, that I clicked over to read your entire article. I agree wholeheartedly with your ideas, which come from first-hand experience in an industry that has truly been revolutionized by technology. In reality, though, and in now small part due to the entertainment and news industries, our entire information landscape has become revolutionized by technology. Practically all information that we use on a daily basis is or has been digital and networked, and the unprecedented propagation of information has overwhelmed us with content.

I often say that a teacher can be a good teacher and not use technology. However, is that teacher doing his or her job? My answer is, “No!” Any teacher who is not using technology in content delivery, information processing, communication, and assessment, is not doing their job.

You see, the affect of all of this networking and digitization, is that the shape of information has changed, and, as a result, what it means to be literate has changed. The BASIC Skills of this new information environment go so far beyond merely being able to read, write, and perform basic math, and without technology, we can not teach these new literacies, nor teach within the context of these new literacies. We’re still preparing children for the 1950s.

I would even go one step further and say that these new literacies should be called Learning Literacies. In a time of rapid change, learning is what we will be spending much of our time doing. It is practically THE reason why we need to be able to read, process information, and communicate — so that we can continue to be relevant to our environment.

What do you think?

Image Citation:
Scissors, Runs With. “Penny on My Desk.” Runs With Scissors’ Photostream. 7 Jan 2006. 7 Dec 2006 <http://flickr.com/photos/kenstein/83314170/>.

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.