My child’s teacher will need to use tech as a tool to engage her as a learner. She can use an iPad at age four and her life will be spent online exploring, learning, and creating. Teacher readiness to integrate technology daily is what will energize her learning. I say this because I am concerned for the future of teaching when teachers of my own age are not willing to change their practice to match today’s learners, much less ten years from now. The angst I feel about this is tremendous. While I read about many school districts who are moving to a 1:1 or a blended learning model, there are just as many and more who are not moving in this direction. Maybe it is a funding issue or maybe it is policy or maybe it is a sense of urgency. Whatever the barrier might be, the technology my kids will have available to them outside of school will likely blow away what they have access to in school.
Beyond this basic concern is a second tier level that administration is unwilling to chart a course and make definitive decisions that take a school or district in a particular direction. I can only hope that more districts will concern themselves with digital urgency teaching kids how to learn in a post industrialized based society. Blogs of principals who are “21st Century” minded excite me because they see the bigger picture and are taking their school or district towards a better educational future. While this is a broad generalization that education is better with technology, education cannot help but fully adopt it in all content areas maximizing its full potential while pushing for higher teacher standards resulting in transformed teaching that is inquiry based and open ended where students are answering important questions at the same time they are learning content and becoming digitally literate. This is the point at which some teachers, rather than innovate and authenticate their own teaching, refuse to see the panoramic view that education is changing rapidly thus forcing, though with a good fight, them to change. Knowing human nature, when anyone is forced to do anything the first reaction is to resist and resistance is already apparent. Resistance is a waste of pedagogical energy dissipating in the melee of learning and education. If tomorrow’s students are to sustain a fighting chance of learning with technology then tomorrow’s teacher must change to match the learning style of the next generations.
Foisting archaic, industrial teaching methods upon digital literate citizens will reduce the zeal for the learning process and destroy the credibility of teaching as a profession. Thrust upon teachers will be the label, as it is when students are labeled with a learning disability, “teaching disabled with moderate to severe neglect,” because we were unwilling to change ourselves for the better outcome of tomorrow’s students.
Regardless of what role technology plays today, tomorrow it will play a larger role in shaping education. Despite your own comfort level with technology how will you change your practice to meet the needs of digitally literate children?