Thursday, September 24, 2009

Educators and Technology

The readings for this week provide some thought-provoking ideas. When I first started reading "Why Educators Should Care About Games," I must admit I was a bit skeptical. My daughter, a graduate of Cal Poly SLO, has related to me many stories of her guy friends' addiction to computer games. I would say the games do engage these young men's minds, do require critical thinking, but at the exclusion of any other social interaction. Nevertheless, I became intrigued by page 78 when the authors began to relate specific activities that involved the classics. It shows me that technology in the classroom need not be at the exclusion of print media, i.e. books.

The explanation of Digital Prometheus caught my attention because of its focus on ethical dilemmas inspired by Frankenstein. Ethics has become a focus of we 12th teachers at my school because students increasingly show they don't have them. They continually make poor decisions that, in many cases, cause them to experience jail time (yes, many have probationary officers) or other serious school sanctions. Using technology to enrich and extend these lessons is a brilliant way to teach students. Also, the approach pulls in important literature that can broaden students' knowledge base. Frankenstein is a recognizable character name that even Mel Brooks copied for one of his movies. Carol Jago, the current NCTE President and a veteran teacher, has published a book about teaching ALL high school students the classics. Extending this reading via technology is a way to achieve equity for all students, not for reading the book but for gleaning the underpinning of theme from it.

One other article of note is "Six Challenges for Educational Technology." This article, while a bit long, was captivating in that Dede realistically states that "Professional development needs are more complex than increasing educators' technical literacy." He says the real issue is building teachers' knowledge and skills in changing their pedagogy and content. He sees, clearly, that not all of the funding can go into purchasing hardware. I couldn't agree more. Just having computers on campus does not mean they will be used effectively. IF the teachers don't know how to integrate technology into their curriculum, the computers become an expensive decoration for the school. Too much effort has been placed on the lower level functions of how to use them and have kids just word process; then the teacher can say s/he is using computers in the curriculum. Expectations must be increased. I feel each school needs a technology/literacy coach who can help teachers change their pedagogy to effect real change.


  1. "Why educators should care about games" addresses the larger issue of the change electronic media has caused on cultures. To me, changing culture and values is the same root of problems of children in high school who, are not practicing ethical behavior. However, who determines what is ethical or even what are the classics? With so many books written annually, there are a great many more options of texts than even when I was in high school twenty years ago.
    Again, changing cultural needs around technology in schools and for educators is occuring. To me, when viewedas cultural shift, it makes more sense, and seems to fall in line with the author of "Six Challenges for Educational Technology" main point is, that the answer is sytemic change. Sytemic change seems synonmous with cultural change around technology.

  2. The article “Why Educators Should Care About Games”, brings up a lot of interesting points. In this current society of technology, computer games are huge among all age levels. I do agree that such games do provoke critical thinking skills, but they are to fictional situations. Students become very addicted to such games and in a sense lose their ability to think critically on a global level and nonetheless to interact socially with others. However, educational games in schools can be a great asset to the curriculum. Since, technology is all around us we need to begin introducing technology in the classroom more and make it a great interactive tool for both the student and teacher. Being a computer instructor I can see and acknowledge the great impact educational games bring to a students learning.
    In the article “Six Challenges for Educational Technology” states that it is important to incorporate technology literacy into the curriculum, however it should not be the main resource. I agree Loretta, that funding should not all go into purchasing hardware. I feel it is important that students are exposed to technology and other resources as well. Will there ever be an equal balance between the two? I often see students discontent with textbooks, books, etc. and I wonder if this is because they want everything instantly and do not want to search to find information. If this is the way it’s going to be we are in for a whirlwind of failure and deception. Loretta, you make an interesting point regarding technology that in order for it to be successful coaches need to be involved to help fill the gap between teacher’s pedagogy and the use of technology in order for students and teacher to succeed.

  3. I like the article that the teacher emailed us about writing is in a revolutionary stage because of technology. Who knows?
    I do write more because of email and school work. Then those who do facebook and texting are engaged in continuous dialogues. It will be interesting to look back 20 years from now.