With Apple’s education announcements, there has been an upswing of talk about technology and its role in education. That’s a good thing. It also happens to be something very near and dear to my heart for any number of reasons … the two most prevalent being my education degree and the fact that I now work in information technology.
They kind of go together.
This post is really just going one a bulleted list of paragraphs outlining some of my thoughts on technology in education and in the future I hope to maybe take some of those points and expound upon them a little further.
- I think it is safe to say that technology, or the internet and computing devices really, are here to stay. Wishing them away isn’t going to change things, so hoping that you can just ignore technology in education isn’t going to change the fact that it is currently important and only going to become more so. What you can change is how you react to that reality. It is the whole “you can only change how you react to things” trope.
- What we are doing is not working. The current curriculum around technology literacy is not good and not effective and how technology is incorporated in the rest of the curriculum is not good and not effective. This isn’t even taking into account that you can always do better.
- The worst thing that happened for technology education was Microsoft’s dominance in the 90s. It allowed everyone to get lazy because a “curriculum” could be tailored around Microsoft and Microsoft alone and people could point at their market share and say “who else do you need”. Those days are now gone and now we have plenty of people who cannot think beyond “where is the Start menu”. Shameful, really.
- Programming and logic courses should be offered, but not required, in every school.
- People need to understand how technology (computers) works and also how technology interacts as well. There is no reason that a person should not understand how a computer and projector interacts with each other, how I/O (on a really basic level) works so that they can at least have a cursory understanding of what might be going wrong.
- Open up the classrooms to a variety of devices and platforms. Choose technology that works best not technology that everyone else is using. If a lab full of Linux thin clients will do what you need and save you money … THEN. DO. IT.
- TYPING. CLASSES. Have students typing and learning how to type from a very early age.
- Teach technology throughout the curriculum. Want kids to learn how to set margins and tabs in a word processor? How about have them mock up an article in whatever word processor they want. Learning about large numbers and statistics? Use a spreadsheet and have them work on setting one up that will calculate totals on-the-fly. There are so many ways to do this where you give kids the leverage to learn while doing it across the curriculum.
- 1:1 programs should be planned for an implemented pretty much everywhere. Yes, it takes planning and resources and training but it will need to be done at some point.
These are just the thoughts I can get down right now and, as you can tell, it is a lot of “stream of consciousness” prose above. There is a lot of work to do, but we have to start somewhere.