Saturday, February 21, 2009

Student Voices

There are many ways to look at the impact of technology on our education system and there are also many factors that go into making technology successful - professional development, access, connectivity, content, etc. I think for many years we have focused on teacher access, teacher PD and to some extent integration to the instructional process. It's great to hear the students perspective on what they are doing and how technology is a part of who they are. It is the very essence of how they go about their life. This video clip from CoSN reiterates the fact that students are learning far beyond the standards and far beyond what they are able to do through an instituional setting. We as educators should consider embracing the many ways that students acquire, create and share their knowledge.

I thought I would share an excerpt from a blog post by David Warlick at the CoSn conference for superintendents. Good insights as to the impact of technology in education.

Most of the research on the impact of technology in education, that he shared indicated little to no impact — until he got to recent studies done by Becta in the U.K. where enormous investment has been made in technology. What has accompanied that investment are efforts to redefine and retool education to reflect 21 century realities. They found dramatic advancement in learning, when that investment was accompanied with enthusiasm and support.

A U.S. metastudy came to two conclusions.

  1. We’ve often over-promised what technology can do.
  2. When there is appropriate vision and adequate professional development, Technology can be a powerful, transformative tool.

We are making progress when it comes to teachers. 63% of teachers say their technology skills are “somewhat advanced” or “advanced”. Yet most of them use their skills for e-mail and Internet research, not changing teaching. (CDW-G Teachers Talk Tech Surevey 2006)

From the student perspective (customer), they are expressing growing frustration that schools are “irrelevant”. We teach them all in a cookie-cutter style, while, in their outside the classroom information experiences, they learn at their own rate — and they do a lot of learning outside the classroom. Krueger talks about individualized instruction. I prefer talking about personalized learning. It implies to me a more active and direct involvement by the learner.

Krueger then depressed us all by talking about what technology gets from the Obama stimulus package. That deserves its own blog post.

This one caught my attention. 88% of the voting public believe that 21st century skills are important and should be integrated into the classroom. What actually struck me was the 10% who said that 21c skills are important, but that they should not be taught in school. Where does that come from?

The next slide indicated that 99% of people say that 21st century skills are critical to the future economic success. Yet school and district administration continues to run against resistance among parents and community.

We finally watched the new student-version of the Learn to Change, Change to Learn video. Here are some of the quotes that resonated with me.

  • "I can make anything that would have been ordinary, extraordinary."
  • “I just started making music a few months ago. I’m learning how by trial and error.”
  • “I’d say that being able to experiment with technology is what is good about technology.”
  • “Video games are about coordinating and communication.”
  • “When you have access to everything, you get to know yourself better, because you have to choose what to use and what not to use.”
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