Recently I was asked to answer some questions about technology use in schools and districts. I wanted to share my reposes here:
-What do you all see as the major issues with students using technology and the internet at school? How have you/we tried to combat these issues?
Students are often more technologically-savvy than their teachers. Considering how fast technology is advancing, proper monitoring, internet safety, and prevention of cyber-bullying is paramount.
There is an issue of using paid services versus free (OER) resources. While paid services are nice and flashy, are they really “teaching” our students to have the 21st Century Skills that are necessary for a digitally literate society? When teachers use free services with students, is private student information being collected and sold? Or does the tracking lead to future targeting of the individual student for private information? Do free resources take too much time away from the classroom? Do free resources allow the teacher to properly monitor student work?
Also, do we try to “replace” the teacher in providing quality content by sticking a kid on a computer? A computer program cannot replace the professional skills of our best teachers. It also can’t be used to replace bad teachers – a bad teacher will be equally bad online.
-What do you think the benefits of students getting to use technology and the internet could be?
Students have to use technology and the internet to CREATE information, not just CONSUME information. Having students watch Youtube videos, read articles, and skim online resources is not helping them become smarter. Only when they are creating original content, synthesizing materials, writing on a blog, creating their own content that is something new – that is when the internet and technology are useful. Our students have to be able to perform, and a lot of what they do online is simply consumption.
When students get out into the real world, they are going to need skills to write (like I’m doing here), create videos (maybe help videos, putting their thoughts online, or entertainment videos), graphically design art – every student who graduates today goes on to use technology and internet in their future endeavors – they have to learn and practice now, so they are ready.
-How do you all utilize technology as leaders?
I am CONSTANTLY creating new spreadsheets, documents, writing emails, making videos, taking screenshots, and creating new content for teachers and students, and the community. I am also collaborating with my colleagues – hence my love of Google and all it’s collaboration and sharing tools. I feel like I am creative and competent, and that I add a lot of value to my position. Without technology, I could not solve the challenges facing my program.
-Is there anything that you would like to see teachers or leaders utilize more frequently or in a more effective way when it comes to technology? (This could include something that you personally would like to improve upon.)
Creation, not consumption.
Facing challenges, not giving up when there are problems.
Collaboration, not working in silos.