In the section on running with the gazelles and lions in Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, (p. 114-127) I started thinking about some of the frustration that’s been growing in me on how the latest ed tech technologies are changing so fast! How can a teacher keep up? And is it worth spending time on one technology, such as handhelds or iPods, for a year or two and then move on to the next latest and greatest thing?
I had been leaning towards… no! But in the middle of this section, it occurred to me that maybe it is actually very good to expose kids to different kinds of technology as often as it changes. We should teach them new things and explore new technologies and ways of teaching & learning as often as we learn it. So that both we and the students get used to changing quickly! The students will need to learn to learn all their lives. So we should start them on this learning track by modeling continuous learning ourselves!
On p. 131, I read,
Wal-Mart became number one because this little hick company from northwest Arkansas was smarter and faster about adopting new technology than any of its competitors.
To me, the lesson here is to encourage students along the same lines! If they learn what the technology can do – i.e. with VC we can communicate with other people – then we should ask them – what else do you think we could/should do with this technology? Clearly to keep the competitive edge, we and our students need to keep imagining positive, constructive uses of the tools and resources around us!
So I hope the next time I feel a bit tired about the latest thing and the work it will take to learn it and integrate it into the curriculum, I remember the benefits to my students. Increase in technology skills. But more importantly, increase in learning skills!