Mrs. Ryan's Class

A Digital Learning Hub for students and parents

Where do we go from here?

on August 11, 2015

This week, I have been asked to think about the future role of technology in our teaching and learning. What path should we take now? What should we be studying? What should we be doing?  

I am currently in the Public Library/Post Office/Town Hall Building of a very small town in the Adirondack Mountains, the only place for me to get internet access. Adirondacks_in_May_2008As I read entries from The American Educational Research Association  I can’t help but glance around this tiny library and notice  evidence of the change discussed in the articles. This relatively remote location still retains a small town/old fashioned feel (the primary reason my family vacations here.) Yet aside from me, there are six other people here: another woman on a laptop, a teenager on an iPhone, and a small family of 3 reading children’s books and playing with puzzles. This illustrates the striking role of technology and how it has changed the way people interact, relax, socialize, and learn; even in this small town that is slow to change, technology has taken-on a large role. We need to harness this shift to facilitate a more global, interactive, and connected way of learning.

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Greenhow, Robelia, and Hughes introduce the concept of Web 2.0; a term coined in 2004 describing an internet that is more collaborative, interactive, participatory, and distributed in their commentary titled “Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship in a Digital Age: Web 2.0 and Classroom Research: What Path Should We Take Now?”.

Since our students grow up in a world with Web 2.0, how can we use this vast resource to teach better? There are countless online tools that allow teachers to facilitate collaborative and interactive work such as Google Classroom, wikis, blogs, Edmodo, and many more. We have discussed these new literacies through our study of the ORMS Model: Online Reading Comprehension, Collaborative Inquiry, and Online Content Creation, but do all students really receive this type of education and engage in this type of learning?

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This issue of inequity is perhaps what I find to be the most challenging issue to wrestle with in my study of Instructional Technology. Greenhow, Robelia, and Hughes write, “What children learn outside of school can shape what they learn in school as they seek out projects based on their interests.” As teachers we find evidence of this every day, but what I find troubling is the impact that inequity of technology resources at home has on school. In “Comments on Greenhow, Robelia, and Hughes: Expanding the New Literacies Conversation”, Leu, O’Byrne, Zawilinski, McVerry and Everett-Cacopardo write, “Students in the poorest schools become doubly disadvantaged: They have less access to the Internet at home, and schools do not always prepare them for the new literacies of online reading comprehension at school.”

I believe a possible solution to this issue of inequality is to move away from the “Classroom” use of Web 1.0 and teach educators how to harness aspects of Web 2.0 for classroom and educational use. I hope that the future of education involves extensive professional development and encouragement of how to safely and effectively use technological resources and the opportunities available from Web 2.0 in our classrooms. Kids not only need to be taught how to create academic content, but also need to learn about the intricacies of the open web and how to safely represent themselves online

These articles have highlighted the vast nature and potential of online learning and content creation, but it would be unfair to assume that teachers can utilize these resources without explicit instruction and practical suggestions for use. The Instructional Technology & Digital Media Literacy Program has provided me with a broader understanding of how technology can be used to enhance my teaching, and I hope to learn more practical “down and dirty” ways to enrich my teaching using technology.

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In my learning this week I came upon an advocacy group, Education Technology Action Group. I agree with the fundamental belief of the group: The use of digital technology in education is not optional. Competence with digital technology to find information, to create, to critique and share knowledge, is an essential contemporary skill set. It belongs at the heart of education. Learners should receive recognition for their level of mastery; teachers and lecturers should too.”  The primary purpose of education is to prepare our students to be contributing and well educated members of society, and we must not ignore the role that technological literacy plays in the success of students. 

I think the way to move forward and ensure that students do not fall through the cracks due to inequity in resources is to educate all teachers in digital media literacy and provide them practical ways to use technology in the classroom.

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One response to “Where do we go from here?

  1. deanpelligra says:

    Thanks for the Education Technology Action Group find. How can it be that in certain districts, like mine, that digital technology still is optional? Web 2.0 has been out there for a while now. Let’s hope all students can be introduced to the educational aspects of it through good teacher modeling as a rule in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

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