Monday, May 18, 2009

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

I came across this video on TeacherTube. It's a reconfiguration of a couple of YouTube videos I've seen with the focus now on K-12. I really like the fact that Nesbitt got 16 digital natives to help with the production of the video.

One comment asked, "At what point did students transition from "I am engaged in learning because I value education" to "Engage me and make me learn?" It is scary to think that current educational philosophy puts ALL of the onus on teachers to MAKE their students learn, rather than on students." I'm wondering if the majority of students were ever involved in education simply because they valued learning--whether that is a myth we tell ourselves. What is it about today's education that students should value? Are we teaching them the skills that they can use to get a job, to be productive citizens? If they are using technology daily, then it is our responsibility to teach them how to use it appropriately, ethically, efficiently, effectively.

I don't think that technology puts all the onus on the teachers. I think technology allows teachers to be co-learners, to provide learning opportunities that have never been available to the majority of people before. My students can now sit in the Globe Theater and participate in an Elizabethan production in Second Life. Using i3D technology, they can go into a cell and see protein synthesis occurring--and even manipulate DNA to create mutations. They can tour the Louvre without leaving the United States. On the other hand, they can also be creators of knowledge. They can collaborate on a group project using wikis or publish essays previously only seen by the teacher in their blogs for the whole world to see. They can participate in peer-reviews, share research, and meet experts--all on the Internet.

It is our job as teachers to move out of the Industrial model of "sage on the stage" and dispensing of knowledge into "empty containers." We must realize that not only has our world changed, but our students have also changed. They have different expectations--and the business world has different expectations also. We have a responsibility to produce technologically literate citizens, which means that we HAVE to use technology and have our students use technology in their learning activities.

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