Education Reform: Technology?


“The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy, that is transformative.” – Tanya Byron

“Why shouldn’t we give our teachers a license to obtain software, all software, any software, for nothing? Does anyone demand a licensing fee, each time a child is taught the alphabet? – William Gibson

“You must be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhi

What Are 21st Century Skills

How often do you hear the statement: “It’s always been done it this way”?  How does that statement make you feel? Do you accept that, go with the flow, accept that as fact?

I’ve heard it often, not just in education institutions, but in all walks of life. It’s safe. It’s the known vs. the unknown. It’s also, in my opinion, suffocating, demoralizing and counter-productive.

Technology advances. Things do or can change.

Some of the arguments I’ve read, or heard first hand, comes from a belief that the technology will take over and become the lesson. It is A lesson, but it’s a tool, and how it is used in schools and life. A tool, used properly from all involved,  can make a difference  furthering our learning goals.

Just hand it over and say: “Here…new shiny toy. It makes us LOOK smart and state of the art. Training? Here’s the basics. You’ll learn as you go.”  Does that scare you? It scares me. Yet, this is (generalization) how, too often, things are done.  Teachers work towards their degrees for four years (not solely) to get to a point where they are still thrown in with whatever tools they have. They might (and should) tack on two more years with a Masters, and PDs that too often are only taken to fulfill system requirements.

Training needs to be extensive to allow these new tools to filter down properly. It’s ongoing, not crammed into a day session. Technology changes so quickly and the training in the summer has normally gone a number of times behind  that by February of the school year.

Two of the reasons I support Tablets as a  new tool to be supported: Space and budget. Books, while I love the tactile feel, require a lot of space and money. Also, look at the environmental issues. Once a text book goes through it’s umpteenth revision, you either (1)stay with the old books due to budget concerns, using a book that does not have the newest information or (2) the school system takes on a new methodology in a subject, buys into the program ideal, and then junks the old texts for a different set. Books get lost, replaced (or, not enough are on hand), damaged, etc.

If the schools purchase the rights to eBooks, they should  purchase the rights to future revisions,  the ability to switch the core material (most likely for a fee, but…), and they’ll always have the books available for the students (as long as they are secure with their technology, theft and breakage). Cloud storage should be how this information is gathered and kept by the text companies. Right there are jobs.

This, again, is only the tip of the subject matter. I will follow this up with other pros and cons during the week.

What are your thoughts on Education Reform and Technology?

Project Gutenberg

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elizabeth Gaucher
    May 25, 2011 @ 15:14:12

    Check spelling on Education in title, friend! Love your blog.

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      May 25, 2011 @ 15:17:39

      OK..HOD…oh, sorry..DOH!!! 🙂 Thank you Elizabeth, both for the loving the blog and pointing out the typo. For some bizarre reason, I do that same typo all the time. Must mean something.

      Reply

  2. Dangerous Linda
    May 25, 2011 @ 15:15:10

    “Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.” ~ William Haley

    The above quote is my counter to “It’s always been done it this way.”

    Education, by its very nature, must be progressive.

    Reply

  3. Abhisek
    May 25, 2011 @ 22:59:27

    Education is a lifelong process….we keep learning throughout our life.Technology is just a tool and it keeps advancing and if one knows how to use it they will definitely get far better results.Nice post 😀

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      May 25, 2011 @ 23:06:26

      Danke. More people need to see that. When I was working on my second masters, I mentioned it to the “teacher who shall not be named” (yes, my role model for bad teacher: I haven’t even mentioned half the negative things that came out of this woman’s mouth). Her response (paraphrased): “I’m done with learning anything more. I just want to work and go home.” Yeah.. and it’s the children who suffer. Thanks Abhisek

      Reply

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