NETS for Dummies

I honestly don’t know. I find most talk of IT integration to be alternately high-minded and clueless. What is one to make of “Model Digital Age Work and Learning” if the meaning of these terms is still open for debate? We’re currently working at a school that has eagerly gulped down the 1:1 Digital Kool-Aid and now everyone 6-12 has a laptop, but I still wonder if we’re not all carrying around what Alan November called $2,000 pencils. Despite all the best intentions of all constituencies, I can’t point to a single, meaningful discussion about what this all means that the school has had either pre or post laptop. Perhaps our former IT director, Russell L. said it best when he suggested that technology was as much an inherent and indefensible “good” as books in a library. Books are the tools of traditional literacy as computers et al are the tools of digital literacy. But that still doesn’t make it any clearer what we work and learning we are to be modelling.

I consider myself reasonably technically adept (all my courses are on websites I’ve constructed; classes contribute to blogs and Diigo communal bookmarking; my classroom is virtually paperless) and yet I have no idea what I’m “modelling” to my students with regards to the Digital Age! I do focus on critical analysis and thinking skills, especially with regards to media, but much of that seems to predate the “Digital Age” so can I claim this focus just carries over and now I simply model these same analytical skills on a laptop, using an LCD projector and YouTube? That seems somehow less than what I was hoping this whole “Digital Age” would offer us and yet we’re now in Course 4 and I’m no closer to seeing the digital light. Perhaps we’re just all too close to it. Perhaps this is the plight of those living during a paradigm shift…they have no perspective from which conceive of just what is shifting and where it is shifting to. Very few understood the shifts in science, math, music and art that occurred in the first decades of the 20th century as they had no vantage point on the shift. Perhaps we, too, cannot imagine the world we are in the process of creating. I honestly don’t know.

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