In last night’s class discussion we covered Alan November’s classifications of looking at technology in schools through the filter of either automative of informative change. Automating with technology is doing the same things in a more efficient way. Examples include using the computer as a $1,000 pen for writing paragraphs or simply putting class notes that were once on the board into powerpoint form.
Often these initial automative changes ended up creating new and informative uses. An informative use in many ways shifts the traditional structure and definitions of relationships and work within learning. A heady concept but a powerful one none the less. In the video below you’ll have a chance to listen to some educational theories as articulated by one of the most articulate voices in the constructivist movement.
I’m not one for believing that we have to throw everything out and that some direct instruction and good old lecturing are not useful from time to time. What I do find continuing fascinating is the quality and variety of the work that students in a constructivist classroom create.
Technology and its advocates seem to be in two camps. There are those pushing for what Stager calls “Reform TM” that believe it will lead to lower costs. This seems to be the dominant mode at the time with online credit recovery courses, supplementing curriculum through the Illinois Virtual School and all. The real power though comes from how the relationships and the work can change when technology is utilized well.
1. When you hear leaders and parents speak about technology in schools what are the primarily advocating for? Do they want glitzy toys and access to the web or do they want the transformative relationship change that a constructivist technology rich environment can bring?
2. We often work in this course with the presumption that these changes to a more student-centered approach are a good thing. Are they? Is there anything we may be losing? Or should we be free to: rethink everything?