A Sane View of New Technologies and Learning

My friend and Trinity parent, David Hostetler, who now teaches virtually at Appalachian State in the areas of school law and humanities, passed along to me a blog by Frederick Hess, Pundicity.  

David and I have kept up a conversation about teaching, learning, and technology over the last several years.  His teaching at App State, which started as traditional teaching, has migrated over the years to blended classes and now to mostly virtual instruction.  Those transitions have forced David to think long and hard about the limitations and affordances of different ways of teaching.  He's a great resource for us as we move into our Digital Learning Initiative at Trinity.

David's perspective is a balanced one, and Hess' blog entry has that same perspective.  I like the way Hess takes measure of the possibilities and limitations of new technologies by looking at the history of the book in education.  Check it out here

Hess avoids both the Scylla of the digital sceptics and the Charybdis of the tech evangelists.  His recommendation about what we should look for in our employment of these new technologies is spot on:
First, new tools should inspire a rethinking of what teachers, students, and schools do, and how they do it. If teaching remains static, sprinkling hardware into schools won't much matter.
Second, technology can't be something that's done to educators. Educators need to be helping to identify the problems to be solved and the ways technology can help, and up to their elbows in making it work.
Third, it's not the tools but what's done with them. When they discuss what's working, the leaders of high-tech charter school systems like Carpe Diem and Rocketship Education, or heralded school districts like that of Mooresville, N.C., brush past the technology in order to focus relentlessly on learning, people, and problem-solving.


Popular Posts