Posted on 10/21/2009 at 10:56 AM by Global Reach

Today I was part of a Webinar discussing Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. Before the presenter talked about data and how to integrate 2.0 tools in the classroom she gave us a "Who Am I?" riddle. She gave some descriptions of a person in a unique job. She said:
This person:
    •    has access to mobile devices such as MP3 player, game players and laptops.
    •    uses the Internet for education research and online assessments.
    •    participates in virtual reality environments.
    •    has wishes for their ultimate schools which include digital media tools, high tech science tools and online tools for collaboration.

As she is describing this person I was thinking to myself, "Oh!! I know, I know!! It's a tech savvy teacher!!" I was so very wrong! It was a 3rd grade girl.

The presenter, Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, discussed the findings from the 2008 Speak Up nationwide K-12 technology survey. Some of the key findings she spoke of were very interesting but not new to me as I have heard them pop up all over the tech education world lately. She said that the survey found that there is a digital disconnect between teachers and students. Kids are saying that in a sense, they "power down" for school, and "power up" at the end of the school day to go home and use technology and collaborative Web 2.0 tools (like social networking, and virtual gaming).

The "power down" and "power up" analogy was something that stuck out to me. I attended the ITEC conference in Coralville, IA last week and one of the keynote speakers talked about this exact thing. David Warlick discussed the issues of the classroom environment being the same as it was in the 50's even though our life outside of the classroom is very different from the life families had the in 50's. Many teachers are still teaching the way they learned 10, 15, or even 30 years ago. Times have changed and will continue to change so teachers need to be changing the way the curriculum is being taught. The curriculum itself doesn't need to change, but how it is being presented does if we want to create 21st century learners. Yes, there are security issues and usage issues, but wouldn't we rather have our students being taught what is appropriate use of technology and what is not, in the school setting rather than not learning it at all? The computer, technology and the internet has not created cheating or inappropriate material, it has always been there; technology just makes some of it easier. This isn't something we should be scared of. We should be teaching our students how to use these tools appropriately and what it means to be a responsible technology user to help them be ready for the digital world that we are in.

You can find more information about educational technology by David Warlick at any of his blogs:
http://davidwarlick.com/wordpress/?page_id=2
http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/

If you are interested in seeing the data from the Speak Up survey you can watch and listen to the Webinar anytime "On Demand", just Click Here. You just have to register (even though it has already happened) and wait for the e-mail to show up in your inbox. When you get the e-mail click on the "view event" link and you should be set!

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