Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why Technology?

For those of us that are frequent users of technology and social media, we have a pretty good understanding of why we use it. Many educators, Twitter users, and edu-bloggers regularly discuss and debate technology use in schools. There is this massive echo chamber of educators discussing the benefits, tools, and debating what works best. Within the social media world of educators we regularly discuss where, when and why technology should be used in school. We get it. We see it. And we know the transformational effect it can have on the quality of education schools can provide to their students.

If you are not a Twitter user, if you do not read educational blogs you may have missed the "why". If you are a parent you may be wondering why the school is expanding their wifi capabilities. You may be wondering why schools would want to allow students to bring their own devices to school. As a tax payer you may be wondering why schools need more computers.

I hope to provide you with the "why".

Our students are growing up in a different world than when you and I went to school. Twenty years ago you could graduate from high school and enter the work force with a variety of job options. Decent paying factory jobs were available then, not so much now. Students are competing for jobs with not only members of their senior class, seniors from neighboring schools, but also the rest of the world. Technology has created a global job market where our kids will have to fight for jobs. For the first time in history more people in the world will be graduating with high school and college degrees due to the explosion of population and transformational effect technology has had on learning.

Students expect to use technology. They expect to use the tools they feel comfortable and confident using for education. Students also need direction with their digital footprint, the history of everything they do online.

Today's job market will require workers to use a vast array of digital tools. Students need to enter the job market with experience using digital tools professionally. They need to have experience collaborating with peers on a single project using tools that allow team members to be anywhere. We can create real world opportunities for students at school through the use of technology. A few examples of this could be: publishing an ebook then selling it on Amazon, collaborating with other students in other parts of the world, remixing music and video,  and building apps.

Technology use in schools is not about setting in front of a computer all day or replacing teachers. It can be so much more. Using technology in schools is about creating the best learning environment and creating opportunities for our kids. Using technology in school is about taking the great things we have always done and transforming them into something so much better.

At Centerburg, we are expanding our wifi capabilities, we have created Google Apps for Education accounts for our students, we are searching for ways to provide students with computers, and we are sharing ideas as a staff. This is a long and involved process. A lot of time and professional development is needed for our staff but we are headed in the right direction. Transformation will not happen overnight but you will begin to see new opportunities very soon.

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