Saturday, October 29, 2005

Reflections on NSBA T+L2 2005

I just got back from a wonderful four days in Denver, CO at this year's National School Board Association's Teaching and Learning convention, and I have finally found a little time to slow down and think about all the ideas presented. Some initial thoughts...

Many of the sessions I attended centered on the key notion that the teaching of technology in isolation is becoming irrelevant. Students know how/will figure out the physical use of any given piece of hardware/software. They live in this world and are, for the most part, very comfortable with its tools.

But the technology can't be ignored. Instead, educators need to focus on seamless integration of the technology into a curriculum of information literacy. We can't teach in the old ways, in the ways that worked just fine for us because they represented the world we would be entering after high school. That world does not exist anymore; the younger the child, the more true this is. What will twelve years bring for today's kindergarten students?

Some quotes I found interesting (with apologies for not having many attributions).

  • "Technology means change. Schools need to step out of their comfort areas." --John Canuel

  • "Each generation assumes they are different than the following generation yet educates them in the same way."

  • "Email is something to talk to old people."

  • "Technology is anything invented after you were born."

  • "Technology may be the thing that saves the arts in schools." --Gary Stager

  • "The fundamental barriers to employing new technologies effectively for learning are not technical or economic, but psychological, organizational, political and cultural." --Chris Dade and Timothy E. Wirth, Prof. of Learning Technologies, Harvard Grad. School of Education

This last quote really sums up my current frustration. I am attending technology in education conferences, working on my Master's Degree in Technology in Education, and exploring the various resources available on my own; however, I am consistently stymied by the bureaucracy in the way of change. The more frustrating issue is I'm not sure what to do about this. I am on the building and district technology committees, but school districts, like many institutions, change slowly.

There is no reason to think that students will wait.