Well, before I give my perception of why, take a minute to read the following Washington Post article by Laura Mortkowitz entitled, “More colleges, professors shutting down laptops and other digital distractions.” We will come back to this.
Computers engage people. Maybe not the way you always want, but they do engage. People want to “connect”, they want to share, they want to explore. The discussions are week because the people are digging deeper into the sites then the story he is playing and disucssing. They are linking the voices clip to films, website, etc in fact Mike heard the SNCC founders. He went on the web, found a 1996 documentary “Rebels with a Cause” watched it, then went to Facebook and “friended” three of the founding members of SNCC, who were interviewed in the documentary. Needless to say, Mike did not say a great deal in the discussions, but was he “playing” or constructing his own knowledge?
As noted in the Washington post article, not all schools or professors are shutting down technology; Seton Hall University is giving all incoming students a MacBook and an iPad. As the world changes and becomes more “flat” we need to find ways to engage people in more complex thinking. The 21st Century skills and technology go hand in hand.
We all construct knowledge; we want to connect to our learning. However, we need the instructor to guide us…not dictate all learning. Humans are not educated on an assembly line. As a teacher, I often guide my student toward learning objectives, but let them connect the learning in their own way. I often talk about the “accidental learning” that takes place in my room. Students are working to achieve classroom, district, or state goals but learn a large amount beyond that by accidentally reading, seeing, viewing something beyond these objectives. They begin to construct knowledge and learn how to learn. The true goal of 21st Century skills is to become life long learners—computers and technology help us do that, but they will never replace the guide: teachers.
So, do you agree? Let me here your ideas. Have a good weekend. Garth