An article entitled, "What do Kids say is the Biggest Obstacle to Technology at School?" is the basis of my post today. Here is the comment I posted as a response to some of the ideas contained within it.
There has never been a more critical time in our educational institutions to discard what isn't working and take dramatic action in the days that lay ahead for education. Students are customers to our programming. If they don't enjoy what we offer; they will focus their attention on something else and avoid interacting with the material. We need to build a more engaged and loyal client base. Give them what they want. As professionals we should have all the tools to make it work somehow (both in timing and curriculum obligations).
Until we are willing to face the unknown and allow students the much needed access to setting their own learning goals (with teachers as facilitators - not experts), we are fighting a losing battle for their attention, ambition and engagement. Today's school programming needs to be the next Twitter. It needs to battle Facebook. It has to go head-to-head with online games and instant messaging. In short, we shouldn't just be including our schools on these social networking sites for publicity purposes - we should be developing the next big thing that will detract student efforts away from these things and direct them towards our own learning experiments and activities.
Think of the number of people within education in North America alone that have incredible ideas and technical strength. Surely we can mount an effort to revolutionize the system in a cohesive and comprehensive manner. Let's think big. Instead of fighting over the scraps of our student's attention after their preferred activities have finished for the day, let's compete head-on with the way they want to spend their day and somehow make it learning. Until we can do this, we are going to lose this battle.
Studies like the one that has fueled this article are desperately needed. In a time when data is everything to the education sector - we need to start using it to convince the right people of what is needed in our schools. Please post any comments that you have about the different views of technology between teacher and student occuring right now.