Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Education Malpractice

In addressing the reservations that many teachers still have about bringing technology into the classroom, Howland & Levin (2009) don't mince words. They argue that to continue to debate the issue of whether or not we should be embracing technology in education without "devoting substantive energy and attention to the development of appropriate digital practices for teaching and learning is to indulge a combination of nostalgia and intransigence tantamount to malpractice" (p. 88).

With a whole array of powerful technology available to our students and a growing pile of scientific evidence showing that it can facilitate higher-level thinking, motivate reluctant learners, support struggling learners, help create student-centered learning rather than teacher-centered teaching, and empower students to succeed in the digital age, the time for debate is over.

Lowther, Inan, Strahl, & Ross (2008) cite a report from the US Department of Commerce which revealed that education is the "least technology-intensive enterprise among 55 US industry sectors" (p. 196). How can we prepare students for a twenty-first century work world in a classroom that is mired in the early twentieth century? The answer is that we can't, we aren't, and industry continues to complain about an unprepared workforce being pumped out of our high schools and universities.

The time for debate is over. The kids are using technology whether we like it or not. The only question now is, will we teach them how to use it constructively or continue to let them use it only in inane and destructive ways?

To see my latest Web 2.0 adventure, check out my class blog in which we discussed themes from To Kill a Mockingbird here.