In advocating the interdependence of technology and education, we run the risk of getting a little carried away with what is practical and achievable in most classrooms.
For instance, it becomes all too easy to get used to having internet connection at all times. This week though, reminded me of the frustrations of planning internet-based work, only to be left frustratingly disconnected. I tried everything from attempting to tap into nearby unsecured networks (tut tut!), to investigating wireless cards (to tap into the phone network), blackberries, and hiptops.
Imagine then the frustration that teachers face daily when faced with the possibility of an inexplicably disconnected classroom full of 30-odd students and a now dysfunctional lesson plan based on web-based activities. Sure, we always say “Have a back-up plan”, but that’s little consolation to teacher and students.
Then there’s still the problem of connection speed – often adversely affected by a school’s bandwidth. Many schools are struggling to get through computer-based lessons properly, particularly during peak usage times.
I also discovered recently the horrendous costs that some schools face just to ensure internet access for their students. For schools with limited budgets, they are being stung horribly by telecommunications companies.
And I haven’t even ventured into the dilemmas of theft and damage to computing equipment – let alone the initial purchasing of same – as these hound every school.
In saying all of this though, I’m not advocating a slow down in the attempt to intertwine technology and education. I’m just saying that we’re all still learning and taking some risks, and this is what education should be about. If everything was safe and easy, that might just constitute a stagnation of our own development.
What we do need to do though, is applaud those who continue to bring technology and education to their students in innovative and meaningful ways. Whilst calling these teachers ‘pioneers’ would be a tad corny, they are definitely at the pinnacle of their profession in this regard.
It’s hard to go past the diagram below as an example of how these teachers are moving towards the creative peak of Bloom’s taxonomy.