Archive for March, 2014

Time to Dive into the 21st Century

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Author: Jennifer Woollven, Instructional Technology Specialist

Digital matters. There really is no getting around this.  Fears about connectivity and Internet safety are no longer excuses that we, as educators, can hide behind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that these issues are not real or that they are minor and should be ignored, but as educators it is time to face the facts — we live in a digital society. This is not going to change. While this digital world is certainly ever-evolving, it is only becoming a more integral part of our students’ lives. If our role as educators is to prepare children for the future, is it not our duty to do so within the framework that they live, play, and eventually will work? Continuing to opt out of the 21st century is a reckless and irresponsible position for schools to take.

 

We must push ourselves to meet technology and bandwidth demands. Administrators must support innovation in the classroom. Teachers must be given the tools and strategies to facilitate dynamic, connected learning environments so that students are able to become responsible, productive digital citizens. Collegial discourse and student collaboration must flourish and learning must extend far beyond the schoolhouse walls.

 

When the obstacles and fears of technology integration are planned for and addressed the possibilities for transformative learning are endless. The combination of access and student voice and choice leads to deeper learning, critical thinking, problem solving, and self-advocacy. Imagine the impact on learning when students are able to take research to the next level by reaching out to experts via Skype or Google Hangout, or debate ideas online with students from anywhere in the world, or create dynamic products with online multi-media tools, or design graphics that analyze data that they have been collecting, or write for a real audience on a blog. This is just a glimpse of the education that all students deserve to experience.

 

So, how will you spark change in your classroom, school, district or community? How will you help students access, analyze and assess the vast array of resources available via the web? How will you encourage effective online collaboration and communication among your students? How will you urge students to tap their creative potential with digital tools?

 

Resources for getting started:

Digital Literacy and Citizenship

Edutopia

Innovative teaching, PBL style

Graphite

Edudemic

jennifer.woollven@esc13.txed.net and lesliebarrett@esc13.txed.net