Sunday, January 09, 2005

Digital Generation On Its Own, Say Schools 

According to CNN (Schools still trying to catch up with technology), this year's Department of Education report on technology in education, to be released Friday, will report that while student-level computer literacy continues to grow organically, teachers and students nationwide agree that teacher awareness and preparedness to utilize that technology in service to their pedagogy and curriculum continues to lag.

Computer literacy, of course, is skill-based. While basic computer literacy (how to use) is indeed an important foundation for 21st Century information literacy (how to access, evaluate, develop and design), the latter is not generally picked up outside of formal education and guidance infrastructures. It is teachers who turn computer skill into true literacy -- but they can only do so if they are literate themselves, and supported in teaching others to be literate.

Reading between DoE report lines and extrapolating ahead temporally, then, reveals a potential near-future universe in which most folks have plenty of skill, but little sense of judgement and/or appropriate application of that skill.

In other words: it should go without saying that schools which are not puting as much energy into Academic Technology (supporting teachers and students in making better and more enduring connections between tools and learning) as they are into Information Technology (making sure it works) will be the folks to blame if/when future technological development continues to be corporate-driven, poorly designed, and ergonomically silly.

It should also go without saying that most schools fall into this category, whether they realize it or not. Last I checked, the DoE was recommending that a minimum of 30% of school technology funds be spent on teacher training and professional development. On average, schools seem to be spending less than 10% on this, with most if not all of those dollars going to skill-training for administrative tasks such as email and database-based grading.

Of course, here at NMH, the only two full-time employees trained and paid to help students and teachers transform tech skills into true cyberliteracies have been fired "rightsized" effective June '05. I know, cause I'm one of 'em. Good luck with the learnin', kiddies.

posted by boyhowdy | 5:06 PM |

Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening