Students and Technology

I’ve been listening to the EdTechTalk podcasts lately and I picked up the scent of a common thread in a number of conversations – that of students, their use/familiarity with technology and their ability to not just consume but to evaluate, process and recombine the data to which they are exposed (whether analog or digital) in order to produce new solutions, new cognitive connections.

In EdTechTalk #25, the featured speakers were David Warlick and Terry Freedman. David made the comment 39:59 minutes into the cast that:

“These kids do not think of information as something that you merely consume. And I that’s a lot of where the classroom is today, that we still think of information as something that you consume. It’s a text book that you read, it’s a video that you watch. And kids are consuming information and memorizing it, whatever. These kids don’t look at it that way. Information is something that they interact with. It’s something that they work. It’s something that they remix. And unless we are addressing this new way of looking at information in our classrooms, we are going to lose these kids.?

In EdTechTalk Brainstorm #11 at 45:23, the conversation returned to wikis and I believe it was Jeff Flynn who said:

“…when I was presenting with my colleagues, there were 3 or 4 media specialist/librarians in the group. And I could not believe, I was shocked by, the fervor, repulsion and horror they had with the term ‘wiki.’ I mean they had been receiving so much email and listservs about the horrors and dangers involved with Wikipedia. They were casting aspersions just on the term wiki before I even presented the software because of the evils they see involved with the un-nailed down, corporate certification for every piece of information out there.?

To which, Dave Cormier replied:

“Yes like the information that comes from the textbook company is perfect.?

And Jeff responded:

“That’s right. And like you wouldn’t want to double-check what CNN has to say??

I mention this not to vilify media specialists or librarians but to point out that technology has enabled us to not only have more access to greater quantities of data but to be more critical in our analysis of its veracity. Historically, truth has been the stronghold of the publishers, whether in the press or the hardcover. The relatively free and open access that network technology has provided to so many new sources of information has us challenging heretofore sacrosanct texts.

The bottom line is that when it comes to our students, technology and data, the more traditional analog conduit will continue to be challenged by new filters and perceptions facilitated by the digital medium.

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One thought on “Students and Technology

  1. This is a great summation of the kind of thing that we’ve been talking about over the last few months, I’ll be sending people here when they ask us what we talk about, you’ve said it far more eloquently that I could have…

    cheers, dave.

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