Saturday, September 21, 2013

Superintendent Gottardy Embraces Technology

     Over the last few weeks I have heard murmurings about proposed changes coming to the NEISD hinting to technology in schools. This morning I read that Superintendent Gottardy's vision was to " create  more competitive students, and have them truly prepared for tomorrow's world." He went on to say "I couldn't learn that way, but have now realized that is how younger generations are learning, so we can't ignore that".  The statements made by Gottardy are not new because most leaders realize that the world has changed greatly with the advances  in technology and they agree that our students should be prepared for the future, however many are at a loss at where to begin. Others feel that incorporating new systems into an already established learning environment could be disruptive and cause greater damage than good. Many examples can be found where schools or districts go all in on technology (at a great cost) and do not reap the benefits they believed were inherently entitled as an end result. The problem often lies in the planning and training necessary before the implementation of such an undertaking. Gottardy has invited stakeholders, including parents, teachers and students to offer their input to help create the plan which will be revealed in the Spring. The success of the proposed changes will be largely based on the success of the plan.      I  postulate that coming to a consensus on technology in schools will be as easy as reaching consensus in the White House over budgeting issues. The problem exist in the perception of what is best for today's youth. Many believe that technology has helped propel the world into a fast paced, out of control state where soft skills ( face to face conversations, handshakes, eye to eye contact) has given way to abbreviated language, shorter attention spans and the inability to focus.  Technology has helped create a world where students feel a need to express themselves constantly and sometimes in bizarre ways based on what they have seen others do online. Cyberbullying, Sexting and Internet predators are real problems spawned by our modern digital society. These issues have taken a forefront in the digital debate and have become the weapon of choice for those who believe "the world is too much with us".
     I agree that the internet has become the setting for a modern version of Golding's classic Lord of The Flies, where shipwrecked youth run wild, adapting murder as a solution for misguided emotions but this story exists to reveal what would happen in a lawless society without supervision and guidance.  In my opinion, schools are our primary source for rescuing these net-wrecked kids.
If schools integrated technology into every day operations in classrooms the benefits are numerous for society and students. 

  1. Students will be more engaged using the tools and techniques their generation's preference.
  2. Schools have the opportunity to continuously teach students proper netiquette rather than in one mandated lesson.
  3. Schools can offer differentiated instruction through computer based courses.
  4. If students use texting, blogging and writing daily in schools then teachers can change the habits embedded in modern digital dialogue with conventional rules of grammar. 
  5. If we harness the power of technology schools can offer learning opportunities beyond the confines of a normal school day.   
     Innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen details how businesses must understand what they are providing in order to make the most of new and innovative ideas. As educators we must remember that we are not in the book business, the paper business nor  the computer business. 
We are in the business of educating children and our goal is to educate every child to the fullest extent possible. Unless we adapt new methods we will not meet the needs of every child. Very few children, if any, are brought to school in a horse and buggy and yet many are still taught using the tools and techniques from the era of the horse and buggy. 
     "We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past".

No comments:

Post a Comment