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The Trials of a ‘Rookie’ Blogger

Educational Technologists . . . Attempting to Pave the Way

I just listened to a presentation by Rick Schwier, who took the time to present information on the history of Educational Technology and how he believes, along with many others, that there needs to continue to be a shift in education from the traditional school model (teacher lecturing / instructing . . . students listening and ‘trying’ to learn) to reflect today’s technological society.

Rick mentioned that as technologies evolved, they were incorporated into schools and were viewed as ‘the saving grace’. Unfortunately, the technology did the exact same thing the teacher did . . . the information was just presented through a technological tool. Rick told a story of how his science classes (grade 5) were so boring because his instructor (who’s name I will keep anonymous!!) would stand at the front of the room and discuss (in his monotone voice) about the importance of the grasshopper. One day, his class had the privilege of experiencing video technology, which was extremely exciting!! Rick recalls that the video might as well have been his teacher’s brother presenting the same information . . . however it used a ‘neat / new’ technology!! The novelty of something new made it exciting. Guess what? The novelty wears off! A new technology will evolve . . . exciting for students . . . novelty wears off!! What a vicious circle! Unfortunately this can (and often is) the trend of technological use in schools today.

Rick stressed the importance of changing philosophies, not just technology. Schools and educators need to embrace technology and not fear it. Schools are the places where educators have the opportunity to teach students media awareness and link them with the educational world, not just the students in room 304 where their social studies class is. Today’s technologies afford everyone the opportunity to connect with the world . . . to link with others . . . to branch out and become part of the global learning community.

Please don’t get the impression that I am standing on a pedestal with all the answers and do not fall into the category of ‘traditional teacher’. I am not technologically savvy and do not know of many technological tools that exist that could benefit my teaching . . . which in turn would benefit student learning. I am most comfortable being the instructor . . . but is this the best educational approach to learning? I understand the time commitment necessary to ‘re-invent the wheel’ (so to speak) using technology. I guess the old saying, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ applies. I am an educator who is just beginning my journey to ‘change my ways’ of instruction within my class. Wish me luck.

Rick showed a portion of the video ‘One Laptop per Child. I encourage you to watch it to give you an idea of why I am starting my journey.

(I tried for 15 minutes to actually insert the video into this blog rather than providing the link . . . to make things more efficient!! Sorry. As you can see, my path will be a long one but I know it will be valuable)


4 Responses to “Educational Technologists . . . Attempting to Pave the Way”

  1. Thanks for the post. Just a quick note … I can help you with the embed issue. If you are around on the Wednesday session, please bring it up.

  2. I’m glad that you don’t see new technologies as a panacea – none of the others have been. What sort of philisopical change has to occur within education to improve students’ learning? How does it relate to the new collaborative tools?

  3. […] in our EC&I 831 class this week. I too enjoyed Rick’s story about his science class that Travis shares in his blog and remember similar experiences in my own education where there was a meager […]

  4. I always thought a Macs as panaceas and windows as pancakes.
    I am guilty as well as enjoying the “instructor” philosophy…front of the room, guiding groups, the center stage.
    In my mind, the information disseminated was only as interesting as the medium that provided it. I was that medium.
    When we find better mediums, we feel a little insecure.
    Now, I find pride in teaching the tool (basic tools folks, like search engines, no web 2.0 genius here), then taking credit for it, ummm, I mean, taking pride in them using it.

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