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How Technology and the Digital Age Are Changing Learners A Presentation by Jason Varnon Prepared for Tupelo High School Educators Stop pushing me!!!
2009 Tupelo High School receives the news that MacBookswill be supplied to all teachers and students in grades 6-12. All K-5 teachers are notified that they will receive MacBooks to use in their classrooms THIS EXCITES EVERYONE!!!!
2010 MacBooks land in the hands of thousands of students…with much anticipation, Tupelo High School has taken a major step towards utilizing a major form of technology in the classroom. No more textbooks to take home…very few papers to print out…and maybe even a little “fun” is on the way!
So what’s wrong??? Doesn’t technology make problems go away? Why would anything be wrong???
The Short answer??? The old kid on the block was still hanging around… Even though he had a new computer!
Jason…please clarify for us! Okay…Okay Here’s the deal… The MacBooks are wonderful! BUT…
Even with each student having a laptop, if we continue to teach them using the “push” method, then there is a huge potential that the laptops will simply become a distraction…or an mp3 player…or a movie viewer..etc…
So what is “push?” Glad you asked…it’s very easy to define. “Push” is simply a process where predefined information is simply spit out at students… In essence, everyone is the same and individual needs don’t really matter.
The “Push” system used to work, but with the fast-paced growth of technology, specifically the Internet, mobile computing, and now, social networking, the world has gotten smaller. In other words, we have discovered what all we were once told was “out there.”
Fast is an understatement Social networking (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has really made it easy to connect with people ACROSS THE WORLD, and close by, that share our interests…this has led to many forms of collaboration and people from different walks of life working together…
Does this affect the classroom? Without a doubt… Students have become more independent They don’t want to just have information thrown at them…they can find that on the Internet on Facebook.
So where do we as teachers at ths start? 1) By encouraging collaboration. Use the message boards on Haiku to foster discussions amongst students. Don’t just give them a question for homework…post it on Haiku and encourage them to discuss the answers with each other.
2) Encourage students to use forms of social networking to find people they share interests with… This could lead to the students realizing that collaboration can lead to the discovery of tons of information…
Can you be a little more specific? Sure… By allowing students to interact with each other through Haiku, or with other students around the world through Twitter or Facebook, they feel like more of an individual. They feel like they are truly playing a part in the discovery of new information.
(Cont. from previous slide) In essence, they begin leaving the world of “push” and start “pulling” people towards them that have similar interests..
It may take some time You may not see instant results… But as collaboration grows, and students (and even teachers) learn new ways to harness the power of the technology they hold in their hands…
We just might all get to the point where we notice that we aren’t just continually telling our students information to write down and memorize…
We’re letting them discuss and create the information that just might carve the way for the children of tomorrow… While we must guide them and keep them focused… We must also realize that students can be passionate thinkers…
…and that is just what we need to not only survive, but compete in the new digital age…
Be patient… We will have to work together and learn together. It won’t happen overnight, but every small step we take just might lead us to the future…
RESOURCES Brown, J.S., Davison, L., & Hagel III, J. (2010). The power of pull – how small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. Basic Books: New York, NY.