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The Problem With IT in the Classroom

The problem with the wonderfully diverse technologies available to teachers is that it can sometimes breed lazy teaching. A SmartBoard doesn’t make a teacher. The challenge for teachers is not to rely on the technologies at hand, but to simply use them in conjunction with a well-developed lesson.

When reports show that computers don’t make a difference to learning, I wonder if they are really saying that teachers haven’t learned to capitalise from them yet:

Kids love using computers and gadgets in the classroom but the technology has not made them better learners, suggests a new report.

The non-profit Media Awareness Network interviewed a small sample of plugged-in elementary and high school teachers from across Canada and found there’s work to be done to better incorporate technology into schools.

The report suggests many students aren’t really as good at using the Internet as it may seem. While it’s assumed today’s kids are quick to learn how to use computers, the authors found many students are great at social media or finding something to watch on YouTube but their digital skills end there.

Teachers reported that some of their kids had a hard time effectively using search engines like Google and weren’t able to consistently sort out valuable sources from the clutter on the web.

“Digital literacy is not about technical proficiency but about developing the critical thinking skills that are central to lifelong learning and citizenship,” the report states.

The finding wasn’t particularly surprising, said Matthew Johnson, director of education for the Media Awareness Network.

“It’s something we’ve seen before but this really underlined it. I always like to draw a distinction between literacy and fluency,” he explained.

“When we watch a young person sit down on the computer and open a dozen different screens and do a dozen different things at once, we’re really seeing (digital) fluency — the same fluency that lets a 10-year-old talk a mile a minute. But it doesn’t necessarily show genuine literacy, it doesn’t show they understand what they’re doing, it doesn’t even show necessarily that they’re skilled at what they’re doing.”

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6 Responses to “The Problem With IT in the Classroom”

  1. audedu Says:

    Reblogged this on Audacious Educationist and commented:
    I agree! That is why I encourage the teachers I work with to refer to the ISTE NETS Standards http://www.iste.org/standards.aspx

  2. Margaret Reyes Dempsey Says:

    I think you may be right when you say “teachers haven’t learned to capitalise from them yet.” Our school district has been steadily increasing the number of Smartboards in the classroom and sending teachers to training. I remember visiting my son’s 4th grade classroom several years ago and seeing a demo of the Smartboard by a teacher who was clearly comfortable with the technology. That isn’t always the case.

    What most impressed me was the sheer delight on the faces of the kids who were up there helping her demo it to the parents. They were so engaged in the process. And for that, it gets my vote. We have to think about new ways of engaging students who are growing up in a vastly different world than the one we grew up in.

    If we’re smart, we’ll make sure technophobe teachers get extra support so they succeed. We’ll share ideas about great ways of using the technology in the classroom. In time, there will be more resources available. Hey, the elimination of chalkdust alone got my vote. 😉

    And by the way, my son is on break from school next week and we will be shopping for a Smartboard for at-home use. He has been begging for one for years, and considering the amount of time he spends studying (willingly) in the basement with his chalkboard and whiteboard, I think it’s time for the upgrade. (Plus, he’s saved up his birthday and Christmas money and has been doing all the research.) Seems like a win-win. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  3. makethea Says:

    Reblogged this on makethea.

  4. Part of the Problem or Solution ? « Rumblepups Says:

    […] the blog Audacious Educationist, which originally came from Topical Teaching, has a great blog about how IT can sometime breed lazy teaching and that technology does not […]

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