I am working on the last chapter of my technology "survival" book for classoom teachers. Its focus is on the future and how it is up to each of us to help create the future we desire for ourselves and our students. The chapter will start with three possible scenarios for "high tech schools," based on trends I see today. I'll be sharing the drafts of these scenarios over the next few days. Your comments, as always, are welcome.
Three futures: So what's the point?
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Alan Kay
It’s really tough to be “for” or “against” technology in schools. As you can tell from the examples in the previous blog posts, “technology in schools” means different things to different people and to different organizations. In each scenario, there are aspects that that most of us like and aspects that we dislike – or even find frightening.
Skinner Elementary School had a single, focused mission: to get as many kids to pass tests at the lowest cost possible. And technology allowed it to do this. At Dewey High School, technology was a tool for helping create problem-solvers, team-workers, and independent learners. Duncan Middle School teachers used technology to engage students and enhance traditional teaching practices.
Yet each school also had problems. Skinner Elementary ignored most child development needs and treated children like robots. Dewey High could not satisfy parents or the state that their program provided sufficient rigor and met standards. And while Duncan Middle teachers provided “pockets of wow,” engaging technology use was the exception rather than the rule throughout the school and technology had no quantifiable impact on its mission.
In which school would you want to teach? Which school would you want your children or grandchildren to attend? With which school would be most proud to be associated? What school will be the school of the future? What does your ideal future school look like and use technology?
The biggest mistake teachers can make in technology use is to simply let the future happen to them rather than be a serious part of creating it. But how do you do this as a classroom teacher and still teach school full time and satisfy you current administrators?
That’s what the rest of the chapter will explore – how teachers can make their own technology futures.