Thursday, March 6, 2008

Are we really quick to accept technology?

UPDATE: My point to this post...which I'm not sure I ever got to...was that Stager was indicating that teachers have a knee-jerk reaction to adopting new technology - that we adopt things without really thinking about the best practice behind it. My point was - really? IMHO, I have found that teachers do have a knee-jerk reaction about technology - of fear. As in, "A Cellphone? In a classroom? But students could cheat and text each other answers and...". I don't know any teacher who uses technology in a classroom setting who has a knee-jerk reaction of "This is cool! I don't know how I'll use it, but let's try!" Am I wrong? What do you think?

=*Live Blogged - Please excuse spelling/grammar errors.*=

I'm sitting in Gary Stager's session on being careful with what new technologies that we let into the classroom. He is bringing up some valid points - just not in a way that I would. He is coming off really negative - not sure if that is intentional or not.

One of the points that he is bringing up is that there is nothing new in education - he is saying that we are still saying the same things today that we were hundreds of years ago. The "Newly Ancient" philosophy - that we should take the old and find a way to make it new -which I totally agree with. He pulled a quote from 1917 that directly related to what we would consider to be best practices.

However, I feel that some of his generalizations are not fair. He mentioned that high school English teachers only make projects because it is too hard to grade 300 English papers. I don't know what it is like at every school in the country, but in our high school, our English teachers to projects and papers. And they spend hours grading them.

He also said that Twitter, while good for quick questions, is not effective as a personal learning network. I strongly disagree with that - as I have bounced many theoretical notions off of my network. In fact, those are some of my favorite conversations with my network.

Also, I checked out his website: and I was disappointed in his review of Friedman's The World is Flat. Friedman makes a great argument for the globalization of the world...and I'm not sure you can argue with him. While the theories have not changed in the last hundred years, the tools have - and the kids have.

I'm agreeing with Stager now, though - he is talking about adding Higher Standards - and that is very true. Just like the type of knowledge is shifting, you must add higher standards or you soon won't be expecting anything from students.

He's now comparing the difference between community and community of practice. You can be a part of a community - like a city - and not know about everything and everyone in it. Likewise, a community of practice, you don't need to know everything and everyone in it. A community of practice must grow. He's saying that the community of ed techers celebrates newbies, but there often isn't anything for those people who are either intermediate/advanced. Very true. "Entry into the community is based on a willingness to mimic the behaviors of the masters." "Common commitment to progress" You must do something together, and have shared stories and histories.

Overall, an interesting session. He started off a bit negative, but I think there was a message of hope there somewhere. Interesting thoughts, though, about technology and education and being careful as to what/how to integrate.

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Gary Stager, macul08, Twitter

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