Friday, February 16, 2007

The Tech Savvy Student

I just read "How Choice, Co-Creation, and Culture Are Changing What It Means to Be Net Savvy," which primarily deals with higher education, but the article illuminates two points that deal with K-12 learning:
  • Students depending more and more on referrals from social networks for information and take that information and re-make it into something that works for them.
One thing that teachers I speak to struggle with is the problem that students believe that because they read it somewhere, whether it is the Internet or a print source, that it is unequivocally true. This idea that there is a filtering process done through social networking and sharing is a double-edged sword and one where I feel defines the role of the "new teacher" (or as Wes Fryer would say, good teacher). Reliance on social networks without the learned ability to decipher the meaningful information from the meaningless is a flawed strategy, and not nearly far enough removed from the initial feeling that all information is inherently true because it is on "the Internet." Steve Borsch spoke about this recently:

Meaning is critical since our increasingly connected world means that discernment between "signal" and "noise" is harder to achieve. Figuring out what matters and is important is tougher than ever before.

  • Technological literacy is not a one-size fits all problem
I like how Will Richardson describes how learning has changed simply by saying that "learning is no longer an event-- but occurs any time any place- 24/7." As much as this change is being pushed upon us by the rise of information and resources available to students, it is not a new concept, or at least not an idea that will surprise everyone. The role of public education has shifted in the last 50 years to include the idea that incorporating special education students into regular education classes. The term "one-size fits all" has long been discarded, or should have been. Several of my conversations today with Mitch and Jeff from Lecture123 included the phrase "on their own terms," and I liked the idea that we can put content out there in a content management system and students at all levels can access it at the pace that they can handle. This is a scaffolded network, and where they go from there is the other half of the new learning process.

I can't think of anything more exciting than having access to so many tools as a student. From podcasts to blogs and wikis or even skyping an expert as Vicki Davis recommends, learning is not isolated to the 40 or 50 minutes we see our students, but we can extend well beyond that. I would prefer it to span a lifetime.

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1 comment:

Barbara said...

Well said! Scaffolding and differentiated learning are essential elements of a successful learning environment. These concepts are not new but they have been difficult to implement. I believe that web 2.0 opens new ways of thinking about content and new resources which makes this easier, but it requires taking risks and a steep learning curve for many teachers. It is often hard to accept that learning is messy. It is also hard for students who are used to being spoon fed. I believe that with tenacity and passion great things can happen!