Just some thoughts on computers.

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What role, if any, do computers play in learning? Here is a brief thought! Computers revolutionized communication. That is one incredible accomplishment. For technology to invoke social and cultural changes in society makes the computer impossible to dismiss in the educational world.

To ignore or trivialize the importance computers play in school, speaks volumes about ones ability to relate to children. In essence if you refuse communicate as they do reaching them might be unattainable.
I could not agree with you more. If we look down on or dismiss the way our students learn and communicate we are making our job exponentially more difficult. We need to prepare them for the real world and we need to reach them in a context that they understand.
I love Cellucci's quote. This is a dire situation....
I also understand what Mary is saying but I pause. First, there is so much software out there that is free and easy to use at the same time the price of the hardware is going down. Second, I really believe that at this time, more than any other, we need to stop making excuses about why we can't and start working with what we have.
Here is a great video that really speaks to Mont's point.
Mont I couldn't agree with you more. Students in order to become successful in our changing society need to be advanced in technology and cultural exchange. Lieberman and Miller stated “ Globalization is the order of the day, leading to a new economy that depends on the production, application, and dissemination of knowledge rather than solely on the manufacture of goods and the provision of services" The new economy is fast changing the nature of work, shrinking the demand for manual labor and expanding the demand for knowledge workers. Students need to be equipped with the necessary skills to advance themselves in the 21st century. Technology should be integrated in some shape or form in every classroom.
Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing... you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers
. This doesn't affect two-thirds of the people of the world.
Jimmy Carter

Who are these Lieberman and Miller anyway, book authors probably too far removed from the classroom to be relevant to real teaching. Look teaching computers and technology is important to me because it is a different way of thinking. It is hyper learning not linear like most courses. Children in our country will master these processes before we realize it. We need to put content and curriculum into this new framework. Globalization??? That is just another made up word quasi educators throw around.

We should not need fancy terms to convince teachers to use technology or for students to embrace it, we should use it and embrace it because it is already the new way to learn. Oh, just a side note, all major civilizations crumbled shortly after a large phase shift from manufacturing economies to service economies. When we stop making stuff we fall apart!!!

good weekend to all.
Mont - I would really have to disagree that globalization "is just another made up word quasi educators throw around." I think we are doing a huge disservice to our children if we don't recognize the changes that have taken place since 2000. The job market is not what is was when we graduated college in the 80s or 90s. In fact, in 2004 the US census reported that 1 in 5 jobs are tied to international trade. Globalization... in 2003 25,000 tax returns were done in India; in 2004 - 100,000; in 2005 - 400,000. Globalization... China will soon become the largest English speaking country in the world. Globalization... the US Labor Department reports that those entering the workforce now will have between 10 - 14 jobs before they are 38 years old.
Globalization... It is estimated that a weeks worth of information in the NY Times Newspaper contains more information that a person living in the 18th Century would have encountered in their lifetime.

I recommend you read "The World is Flat" by Friedman. I think you will see that globalization is not just some made up word!

Oh, and on your side note - hopefully we as a people have evolved enough so that our civilization does not crumble. :) (By the way - great conversation thread. I love a good debate.)
I agree with you that, if we refuse to communicate as they do, it will make reaching students extremely difficult. At a very young age, students realize there is a disconnect between school and the "real" world of technology advances. However, it is problematic for schools to pay for "keeping up." Consider this-- tech is moving so fast that the $ spent for innovative tech is perhaps wasted when the so called new tech is dated within the year.
You are correct, keeping up comes at a cost. Districts need to look into more leasing and embrace the idea of technology as an operating expense and not a capital improvement. Purchasing equipment causes large spikes in spending that look bad and hurt worse during tight financial times.
Mario, you've been (as well as Jeanette) a great inspiration to me to try new technologies when teaching math. I remember a time when I was hesitant to replace my "well-working" overhead with the laptop for notes, and you said, "I didn't realize you were still writing with your quill pen and ink!"

That was a reference I needed to jump-start my math/technology integration. My goal is to replace at least one lesson a week with a computer based application...either using the laptop cart, the CPS, or a PowerPoint instruction.

This way, I do not feel overloaded with changing "everything" I have in one day, but overtime, I have a much more related teaching strategy to my students.

Next step- animoto and cover it live!!!
I read Mario and Jeanette's entries this morning, and have been thinking about my reply all morning. Dawn's entry has given me the courage. I really am excited about the use of technology in the classroom. What you say Mario is so true. Using technology, whether in game form, gathering information, connecting with others etc. is 2nd nature to our students. We,as educators, have to be open and accept this phenomenon. However, I'm kind of where Dawn is. I want to be comfortable with technology, I want to use it but I'm hesitant and can become easily frustrated. I want to twitter, I want to coverit, I want to podcast and skype but... I have hard time visualizing it and,consequently, retreat. So...I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing. I like classroom 2.0. It's helping me connect with my school community. I am going to continue checking in with twitter and try to make connections and I am going to relax and be open to change.
This topic is of special interest to me at this moment because I'm taking the course Technology for Administrators. I am learning soooo much!! I am so excited about it. It's great to learn about instructional technology, professional technology and developing a technology infused classroom. I am training my brain to think "techno" and its working!
I decided to get my masters in technology integration after watching what was happening in the world through my son's eyes. I figured I had better get on the technology train or get run over by it. I wish I could do more things with technology but I get frustrated because I don'tfeel that I get as much access as I would like. My personal feeling is that the technology belongs in the hands of the students. They need to be able to get on the computers as often as possible. I am finding that to be very difficult since it is not easy to get the use of the laptop cart and with 26 students even when I do have it I don't have enough computers to get everyone on. How I would love to see morre carts in the building. Meanwhile I am still seeking solutions and "borrowing" from the fifth grade when I can so I can get kids on a few at a time.
It does seem that the main obstacle in seamless technology infusion within our school district is money. And like Pat, I also see problems with access. The grades 4 to 8 students in our school experience issues of availability of laptops; the laptops are not available to any K-3 classrooms, except, perhaps during their library time. Further, we are still addressing issues of equity among the staff; some classrooms/teachers do not yet have the laptop/projector set-up. Again, $$$$.

One way to work towards equity among students, however, is to have tech ed as a special in the lower grades, not just in the middle school. There is simply not enough time in the daily classroom schedule to include lessons about the many and varied uses of technology, so that it is second-nature to our students the way it should be. Students with financially-secure and/or technology-savvy parents become computer literate at home, not at school. That leaves us with a large number of students who may spend school time learning how to use the computer rather than on using its applications to improve their reading, writing, and math skills.



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