So, the big question is WHO?
The education is becoming more and more integrated with technology, that it seems vital that all the students are taught proper IT skills so that they can cope with the world that has become highly integrated with technology.
The article by David Warlick is posing the question about if we actually need technology classes anymore? My personal answer would be “yes, we still need tech course in schools” but the important question to ask is who is it for and who teaches it.
There is a huge gap between people who can and who can’t. Some people are able to work out very quickly what to do and is flexible enough to search for information using google search engines. However, there are those who find all this very difficult ( the “I don’t even know where to start”s)
We all assume teachers and students somehow would be able to use all the equipment provided by the school, but I believe people forget that everybody needs training in one form or another.
First of all, teachers are lifelong learners. We all need to accept change and learn to use new tools. The article 6 things we know for sure with ipads in school mentions extensive coaching of the staff to be able to use the i pads effectively in their classrooms. Without the training, as the article writes, these gadgets will merely be a decoration on the wall.
A lot of schools might not have enough funding to buy all the equipment AND provide the teachers with proper training/coaching. I believe one of the possible solution might be what people were discussing in one of the COETAIL Google + hangout sessions.
If we have a group of willing and motivated teachers, who went through various training sessions, they can become coaches to help the teachers in the area become trained.
My questions concerning this idea is, how can we ensure all these willing teachers stay motivated? I would guess it would be too much to ask the teachers to travel to different areas and to coach without any compensation. Of course, I’m sure there will be people who would offer to do this without any compensation, but it would be unfair if it always landed on the same few people with a warm heart.
I’m sure most of the teachers in the Coetail cohort are nice enough to offer free session in their school and in other schools, but it might also be good if there were certain rules (or guidelines) so that people receive a little more than a pat in the back. (I don’t know…any good ideas?)
Just as teachers need training, students also need some training. We assume the younger generation is better at using technology, but this is not true. Most students are used to using programs and apps like Word, Power point, Safari, computerized games, etc. Yet, I realize that using Google drive is very new to most of them.
Because using Google drive has become more and more important to the students, I realize that they need proper training to actually be able to use Google drive properly.
1) Managing folders: (I’m a folder person, sorry!) Having a proper folder system is really important to keep track of what you actually have in the drive.
2) Sharing: The basic concept of “sharing” needs to be taught. For example, people don’t need to share back what has already been shared with them.
3)Tricks: It will help students to know some minor tricks. For example, small tricks such as placing a single file in multiple folders become handy.
Problem solving skills?
When we teach the students, we also need to think about why we are teaching them. It is easy for us to teach them basic IT skills (or any other academic skills) and consider the work done. However, what we really need to do is, think about if we are giving them a chance to grow up to become a successful person, or not.
I’m not going to quote Steven R. Covey, but I wonder if we are effectively embedding these life long skills (for example the 7 habits according to Covey) in our curriculum?
Covey-esque life long learning skills, ISTE standards, our school disposition outcomes …There are so many good standards and skills that would benefit students, but in order to cover all this is not going to be easy.
So, collaboration is the key. I don’t know how it will be organized in our school, but it would be nice to have more collaboration between tech teachers and other teachers so that the disciplines can work together to create effective courses.
If we can integrate technology and organizational skills (or guidance, maybe) into all of the courses, education will become more holistic and possibly more effective. However the difficulty might be that most schools and departments are not willing to disintegrate the disciplines into something more interdisciplinary. Starting a new school would solve this issue, but how to change a system that governed a school for a long time?
I guess we just have to be flexible enough to fit a square object into a round opening…Just like what happened in Apollo 13, people are smart enough to actually collaborate and make it happen…so can we, the teachers.