Who Should Teach Tech Skills?

I am in my first year of teaching at JIS (Jakarta International School) and we are launching our 1-to-1 program this year in grade 6. By next year, all students in grades 6 through 12 will have their own laptop. It has been a bit of a “going back in time” experience for me since I’m coming from a 1-to-1 school where my students have had computers in my classroom for the past 3 years. Our school is going through the natural growing pains that come with such a shift in thought and approach. With this initiative becoming a reality, the school has decided to limit the number of technology classes it is offering, eventually leading to eliminating all technology classes.

What does this mean to the classroom teachers? Should we be worried? Absolutely not!

As David Warlick stated on his blog, ‘we should not be teaching computer applications, but rather computer application.’ He goes onto say that we, as teachers, don’t even need to teach our students specific tech tools but rather teach our students the skills to “simply learn to apply computers to solve problems or accomplish skills.” If a student doesn’t know how to use a specific tool, they will probably have gained the skills and confidence necessary to teach themselves. Here’s a great quote from another blog I stumbled across: “Simply put, we can’t keep preparing students for a world that doesn’t exist. We can’t keep ignoring the formidable cognitive skills they’re developing on their own. And above all, we must stop disparaging digital prowess just because some of us over 40 don’t happen to possess it. An institutional grudge match with the young can sabotage an entire culture.”

Students today have fantastic skills on the computer, and what they don’t know how to do, they generally pick it up very quickly. If my lesson requires a specific piece of software, I take the time to teach the ins and outs of the program to my students as best as I can, while also asking ‘student experts’ to help me in the process. Working as a team with the students in the classroom, and providing them with some ownership, creates a united team. It’s the letting go that we need to be able to do as teachers … that’s the difficult part.

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