Let me begin by saying that I am a big fan of using the weblog as a tool to foster greater collaboration among students; I think that structuring a drafting process using this as a tool is a wonderful idea for the teaching of writing. However, as I have stated before, there appears to be a disconnect between academic environments that focus on theory and the reality of the situation in schools.
When it comes to the use of technology in education, I suppose I err on the side of caution and think that a measured approach is best. Everything in moderation. Call me skeptical, but a great deal of the push to incorporate the latest and greatest in e-learning sometimes comes off like hype. I believe that everything comes down to an economic component, and so too does the push for more and more technology in classrooms. As such, I worry that sometimes what is the best for pedagogy takes a back seat to financial/corporate squabbles and/or goals that may not be in line with our goals as educators. (See this blog excoriating Amazon for not being consumer friendly enough, and this post claiming Jeff Bezos’ messianic qualities).
I was recently talking to a couple of friends that I have who are currently teachers. They have been struggling this year, as it is the first year of a new educational initiative introducing tougher testing standards and increased teacher accountability via publicized evaluations which will directly affect collective bargaining rights. Things are a little chaotic, though not as bad as they could have been. (See this). One of my friends informed me that many of the older teachers, (and a great many of the younger ones as well), are finding it quite a struggle to incorporate technology into their lesson planning. This doesn’t surprise me based on the fact that most people have no idea of the potential of technology. (See this study showing that a large number of people think that cloud computing has to do with the weather, as well as this article about the ability of corporate hype, economic anxiety, and technological ignorance to move mountains).
I guess what it is that bothers me is that all of this technology is supposed to save the world. The Digital Generation are all geniuses, but I can’t even get the right change from the kid who works in the gas station if his computer is down. Sometimes we get lost in our clamoring for the newest, fastest, most shiny thing when what we that is not really what we need.