Are we doing the D.E.W.?

When thinking of how I was going to approach this blog post, I had to first ask myself, “What are tools? Why do we use them?” If I could reflect upon the many tools I have used which is not too vast (hammer, screw driver, and drill), I could then understand the purpose they served. Likewise when reflecting on the many tools I have used while in this profession, I understand that they too serve a purpose – to get information across to an audience for the purpose of learning or support of learning more effectively and efficiently.

Mark Prensky in his article, “Shaping Tech for the Classroom,” makes some very valid points. What of the four are occurring in most classrooms today?

  • Dabbling.
  • Doing old things in old ways.
  • Doing old things in new ways.
  • Doing new things in new ways.

How have we addressed the technology that is available to students like instant messaging, twitter, cell phones, the use of Wikipedia as a source, just to name a few? Are we more scared of the potential danger if not used properly versus venturing out and teaching students, who are digital natives how to use them properly?

Another point in the article that rings true with me is this, “How many of these new ways will ever be integrated into our instruction — or even understood by educators? If we want to move the useful adoption of technology forward, it is crucial for educators to learn to listen, to observe, to ask, and to try all the new methods their students have already figured out, and do so regularly. For the digital age, we need new curricula, new organization, new architecture, new teaching, new student assessments, new parental connections, new administration procedures, and many other elements. What we’re talking about is invention — new things in new ways. Change is the order of the day in our kids’ 21st-century lives. It ought to be the order of the day in their schools as well. Not only would students welcome it, they will soon demand it.”

Are we going through the motions in education or are we Delivering Education with the Wisdom that the way our students learn are different and therefore, we must take a different approach.