Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Invent It: Harnessing Technology in Schools

While perusing social media, I revisited an article I had read earlier this summer Independent School magazine:

The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Invent It: Harnessing Technology in Schools

Here is the quote that I believe is particularly apropos to HA:

Just as the hybrid gas-electric motor represents a key to our energy future, hybrid thinking can take us farther down productive educational paths. Instead of the either-or debates that have characterized so much of education reform (phonics vs. whole language, computational skills vs. mathematical thinking, face-to-face instruction vs. online courses), it’s time we take a both-and approach — weave the best traditional elements of teaching with inventive digital learning to create a truly fresh approach to education.  
This blended approach integrating digital learning with the power of face-to-face relationships, between teachers and students and among students as peer tutors, is proving more effective than either alone

I watched Mrs. Snell's 5th grade class today. They had used their MacBooks to type a story in which they had to integrate their vocabulary words throughout the story. Now, certainly, this same assignment could have been done with pencil and paper, but by using their MacBooks, the students were able to integrate some practical, real-world technology skills into their assignment. First, they utilized keyboarding skills; second, they used a word processing program; third, they used their grammar check to make sure they were using appropriate grammar and punctuation.  One student actually noted that they had originally used incorrect grammar, but they were able to correct their mistake before completing the assignment. In a sense, the student was getting instant feedback without having to wait for a teacher to provide it.

At the same time, the students were exhibiting a number of 21st century learning skills.  They were using creativity to write the story, they were presenting their stories to each other (communication), and they were critically reacting to each other's work and evaluating ways that they integrated the vocabulary (critical thinking and collaboration). Of course, too, by actually using the vocabulary (as opposed to just memorizing a definition), research tells us that these 5th graders in Mrs. Snell's class will be much more likely to remember and use their new vocabulary words in the future (higher ACT scores!). Moreover, they had FUN doing the activity, and they were proud to share their stories with me.

THIS, is what you are getting at HA that I believe you won't get anywhere else in the Wiregrass -- technology and 21st century learning.  It doesn't get any better than that.

No comments:

Post a Comment