Thursday, October 21, 2010

21st-Century Skills: Evidence, Relevance, and Effectiveness

I see people's reservations that integrating a lot of technology is a dazzling distraction that takes away from mastery of core subject areas, however, I ultimately have to disagree.  I think that technology represents an important new set of skills, without which, our students will be ill-equipped to face the challenges, complexities and demands of the work world.  I also believe that this is true across many professions (not just once that are obviously tech reliant).  As Ken Robinson says, technology has already changed the world drastically and will only continue to do so.  He is correct when he reminds us that we have no idea what the future will look like.

Additionally, I believe that technology has probably already altered the way we are learning and processing information.  (Of course this probably has positives and negatives, but that is the subject for another posting.)  Throughout history this has always been the case.  Think of the influence of film on the other arts.  Film has undoubtedly restructured our collective conception of storytelling, uprooting and reorganizing the structure of written narrative fiction such as the novel.  Now it is not uncommon for people to describe books as "cinematic."  In this same way technology is influence the way that we--and our students--process information.  I think that we must flow with this force and find the proper balance of integrating core subject areas with technology.

Far from being a mere distraction, technology represents a vital part of most kids' lives.  Using technology in the classroom provides an organic way to make projects meaningful to them.  Regardless of the technology your are teaching students to use, it also provides them with a technical fluency that can only come in handy for the future.


  1. I totally agree with your comments! Technology has definitely altered the way we are learning and processing information. When I think about when I was in school, and even to this day, the internet is the main source of my education. For projects, we seldom use the "old fashioned" library anymore. Now, we have the ability to access the library online with one click of a button. That is just an example off the top of my head as to how technology has altered our learning. As a teacher, we must use technology so that our students can make learning meaningful to them!

  2. I was just thinking this morning that if we embrace more of a project-based learning model of teaching and become a resource person and guide in the classroom, then, as you say, technology will sort of organically flow out of that approach. Nice response, Katie.