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From the other side of the street

Recently I have been talking to the head of a new school that is opening up in town.  The conversation has been rich, and challenging, and inspiring.  Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, talking only with people who agree with us and share our same ideals about education.  As a result of these conversations, I have found myself re-evaluating my beliefs about education, the place that technology has, and what it means to teach the whole child.  These are all good things, it is good to engage in discourse with people who don’t agree with you.  It makes us stronger, as iron sharpens iron.  I posted these conversations on my other blog, Dreams of Education. The first conversation is a result of our initial meeting, where I learned that this school did not plan on using technology in the classroom and even viewed it as a detriment to education.  It is my email response to the conversation.  The second post is the follow-up email that I received along with my response.  They are long posts but I encourage you to read them. It is good to see things from another perspective.  How would you have responded to a non-tech education?

Iron Sharpens Iron

Beyond Gutenberg

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  1. Great post Kelly. During our panel at ISTE on Dissecting the 21st Century Educator, one of the aspects we discussed was “interacting with like-minded individuals”. Yes that is critical when it comes to learning together about how to best do our jobs in education, but I find myself getting just as much if not more learning from people within my PLN who are not “like-minded”. I teach in the sticks and all of this communication via Twitter and blogs, Facebook, and institutes really opens my eyes beyond the cornfields surrounding my building. I get grief for collaborating with teachers at charter schools or the local private schools occasionally. They can gripe all they want but all I am doing is making myself better as a teacher to improve the instruction I can give our kids.

  2. We need both to be our best. People who will agree to us to give us confidence to move forward, and those who will question us and challenge us to reach farther.

  3. Read/Skimmed your posts and enjoyed your thorough defense of technology use in education, as well as the opposite viewpoint.

    I spent this week observing grad students teach tech infused lessons as part of a class I teach. One of the problems that came up several times was that the student-teachers tried to turn a simple task into an infinitely more complex one just for the sake of technology. It was a learning moment – for them an me.

    While I embrace technology – I don’t see it as the savior (or downfall) of education. You highlighted a bunch of stories about the printing press and the doubts that surrounded its introduction, but this could also be contrasted with teachers like Socrates, Jesus, and Aristotle – who were rather effective with no technology.

    I love using technology and trying new things in the classroom, but I can think of a lot of reasons that I should limit its use. It’s a fine line.

  4. I will agree with you, technology can do a lot for education, communication and business. It isn’t the savior. It is another avenue to expand our options of what we can do in the world. It isn’t that we can’t teach without it, but since we have the capability to do so much with it, we probably shouldn’t be teaching without it. Teachers like Socrates, Jesus, and Aristotle may not have used the technology of today, but that isn’t to say that they didn’t use technology. Jesus was a carpenter and I am positive that he used the technology (tools) available to him to build with. They were effective using the technology they had available. They didn’t have to use all technology all the time, but they knew when and how to use technology to get them to the place they needed to be.

    Technology shouldn’t be used in the classroom “just because”, it should be used when it makes sense because it does the job better than previous technologies (ie the book, pencil, paper, chalkboard). Again, technology is just one vehicle to get to the learning, it isn’t THE learning. As in everything in life, technology use in the classroom requires balance.

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