Learning and technology in schools

Many schools are still banning tools and limiting options by heavy filtering. Once a decision is made, how do you get it changed?

Today I was part of a technology committee discussion about the role of the committee, how it fits into the structure of the school and how it should proceed in the future.  There was discussion about the big picture versus the day-to-day procedures. I, of course, mentioned that schools are (should be!) about student learning and that we (the technology committee) need to be discussing how we can offer  advice on how our school can best use the technologies to improve/aid student learning. We should be leading discussion about the innovations and the ideas of the visionaries and forming opinions on what our school needs based on this. We occasionally need to ask the “what if…” rather than “what we can…due to budget, organizational factors, possible legal issues”.  It is not that the practical should be ignored but that should not be the starting point.

Filtering for instance is a bugbear of mine and I have discussed schools filtering before and why it is limiting to the learning going on in schools, as well as having a good rant about our own government trialling a filter to protect us all.

We need to be creating interesting, creative stimulating learning environments and the technologies are offering us more varied and powerful options to help us do this, not banning various technologies because someone might use them inappropriately. In fact we can be fairly sure that someone will fail the appropriateness test (they always do) but as always the majority will try to do the right thing, when they understand the appropriate procedures. We should always know how to deal with the few and follow up when they make their mistakes

We need to be helping our students to learn how to learn, that learning is not a passive thing but involves many different dynamics. Our students need to be capable of the higher order thinking, to think and make decisions for themselves. They must learn to ask questions and not become pawns for others to manipulate or victims of the dominant. They will have to develop opinions, be able to debate the merit of their beliefs and form ideas based on the best possible facts/information available to them. Our students need to learn to do this now, whilst they are here in our schools. We need to help them understand the wider world and all its tools, not put up impenetrable walls and pretend that “it will all go away in time”. We should not be hoping that, if it doesn’t, someone else will explain it all or that they will be able to work it all out for themselves. We also need to encourage our student to see that valuable learning can happen in many places and at all sorts of unexpected times and they need to value learning. Many students are learning many valuable and interesting things outside the school/classroom walls but they don’t see it as learning. They have been encourged to see it as somehow divorced from school or that it is less valued and therefore it is not shared in classroom discussions, etc, only with other students. The learning in the classrooms is mush less rich and inclusive due to this.

The old adage, “Nothing changes“, is not right because it does but the initial attitude to change, in all eras, seems to be the same/similar.

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2 Responses

  1. […] if (vbc) vbc.style.visibility = ‘hidden’; e.style.backgroundColor = ‘#fff’ }); }); today Learning and technology in … trackback from post […Many schools are still banning tools and limiting options by heavy […]

  2. […] in the future. There was discussion about the big picture versus the … See original here: Learning and technology in schools « Rhondda’s Reflections … about, images, inspiration, ipod, learning, photos, recent-readers, school, search, […]

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