Bill describes a split in the educational community that I think applies to a number of professions. There are those traditionalists who think that today's novices and neophytes should operate as they once did. In the law field, there is a certain relucatance on the part of older lawyers to embrace the modern technology and tools. Bill and Nancy appear to be on opposite sides of the teaching debate as far as technology in the classroom goes.
Bill has been a great advocate of incorporating technology and tools into his classroom, while Nancy appears to be more of a traditionalist, but doesn't forsake the importance of technology.
So the question remains, is one of them right or are the both right. Just because I like the fence post under my posterior, I think they both are.
Nancy makes a good point:
Successful individuals are not creative and collaborative due to fluent use of digital tools. Their success comes from a solid grounding in applied knowledge and skills, integrated into a moral framework that nurtures socially positive innovation. It's worth remembering that technology can also be used very effectively for exploitative and harmful purposes.Incorporating technology in the education of our children is great, if all the students have the same access to technology, but we all know that not to be the case. On the other hand, should we do a disservice to some or all of the students when it comes to technology? Because some percentage of students don't have access to the internet or technology, should we deny all students such exposure? Or should we try to address teh shortfall? Therein lies a significant societal problem.
We have also not come close to providing equitable access to knowledge and skills, let alone digital tools, for a significant proportion of our public school students.
But Bill worries that Luddites will continue to dominate education:
Think about it: Commitment to toil seems to define nearly every aspect of our professional lives.From his own writing and from no other source, I think Bill may have successfully integrated technological tools into his lessons, which is great and I hope more will follow his lead.
We punish kids mightily for turning in late assignments while awarding gold stars for neatness; we celebrate quiet students while constantly scolding the rambunctious; we give 83-question multiple choice tests to 12-year olds to "assess learning," and allow lines and bells to dominate our day.
Most of us take a yeoman's pride in doing things the hard way! We celebrate fingers stained with overhead pens as the marks of good math teachers or brag about the size of our VHS collections. We continue to be confused by websites and generally frown on electronic media of all kinds.
Only in a school will you find dozens of people insisting that Wikipedia is the seed of the devil, that all good research reports need a bibliography, and that a hefty file cabinet is the sign of accomplishment.
No wonder kids hate school.
However, my greatest fear is that some teacher will think that technology can solve more problems than it really can. Just like any other field, technology is no substitute for the fundamentals. A lesson plan that is not sound independently of the technology will teach kids nothing just because you add a blog or a wiki. Technology is no substitute for substance.
There is where I think Nancy and Bill converge. Until and when teachers can provide solid lesson plans purely on substance of teh lesson, then the addition of technology will not provide that substance.