Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1/4/10 Essential Questions

* Why should we integrate technology into lessons?
* What is the purpose of integrating technology into learning?

The video "A Vision of K-12 Students Today" (B. Nesbitt) shows us in a powerful way exactly why educators must consider technology integration in the classroom: students today are digital learners. These students "learn by doing", and what they are doing when they are not sleeping or in the classroom, is exploring and communicating digitally. The majority of their learned and retained information comes in the form of digital technology. The language of technology IS the common language spoken among American students today, not English. As current or future educators, it seems impossible to expect students to grow and adapt if we force them to use antiquated, stagnant tools. The internet is the global community of society and industry today, and it will certainly be the ever-developing community of tomorrow. The fact that the American education system falls below the global standard, while countries in which education standards excel embrace technology integration, also supports the need for our country's education system to move aggressively towards a technologically-integrated curriculum. Considering these statistics, if the purpose of teaching is to engage students and enable them to intake information, comprehend it, and then with their new knowledge yield a product, then the community - administrators, teachers, students and parents alike - must embrace technology integration in the classroom.

It seems to me the real challenge in this movement is not understanding its merit, but executing it in reality. I would imagine that ideal, full integration would constitute a 1:1 ratio of students to PC's or laptops in the classroom, and technologically-literate teachers. While Windham High School may be fostering this utopia, even a school with excellent facilities (such as Pinkerton Academy where I am a former student and currently substitute teach) cannot support that ideal. Some "middle of the road" approach, perhaps a structured media/technology plan developed and mandated as part of the curriculum, would be a significant step in the right direction.

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