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As I’ve been working more on my workshops for this year’s KIPP Summit in San Antonio I’ve found myself involved in a lot of big-picture thinking. The workshops focus more on tangible, daily ways to integrate more technology in our rooms and schools. But like any great lesson, the most important take-away has to be the WHY. Why should we take the time to figure out this technology, and learn all the skills we need to effectively implement it in our rooms?

So through all this thinking I’ve narrowed it down to three big WHYS. Here they are:

1. Are our classrooms right now preparing our kids for what their future will really look like, or what we’re used to it looking like?

The truth is we are teaching our kids for jobs that don’t even exist yet. The careers they lead 20 years from now will look entirely different from what ours look like. We aren’t servicing them if we’re preparing them for what we’re used to and not for what they will actually face. Instead of memorization of facts, we need to transition our classrooms to focus more on their ability to ingest and digest information critically, and their ability to publish and create. With the growth of Web 2.0 anyone can publish, and those who don’t learn how to will quickly fall behind.

2. Our kids are already using a ton of technology outside of school (cell phones, video games, internet), so who’s explicitly teaching them how to use them safely and responsibly? Are we modeling for them what it looks like to use Web 2.0 for learning and communicating? Are we showing them what a great MySpace profiel looks like, and what kinds of groups can be created for learning rather than just socializing? Are we creating lessons for how to keep themselves safe while navigating the Internet? Are we teaching them how permanent and damaging Internet footprints can become if we don’t think ahead while creating them?

If we don’t clearly and explicitly plan units around these ideas, and daily lessons checking to make sure they understand, we are not preparing them for successful professional careers that use these tools to their advantage rather than their detrament.

3. Like I said in point two (and many educators are saying everywhere) , kids are using all these tools at home. My last point would be to question WHICH kids are using these tools at home? I can tell you my students without computers or the Internet are certainly not using them at home. So where and when are they exposed to this technology? If not at school, who will teach them how to use it? It worries me that by ignoring these skills in our classrooms we are just creating an even larger divide between the students who have and those who don’t.

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One Comment

  1. Brilliant!


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