A pencil is technology.
All of the examples of projects or units given in the chapter could have been easily done without technology, with no real change to learning or thinking going on. That to me is the key word, thinking.
How is technology changing the thinking of your students? Is it a necessary part of developing thinking skills?
Finally, I also don't buy the bit about the need to teach kids how to use technology. They will do that on their own. When they leave PYP and start their lives as teenagers, they will surpass us in terms of their technological understanding. They are natives. Let them run wild in their natural surrounding. Now, using it responsibly that is a different question and that is an area where we could have some meaningful impact.
Spotlight #1: ICT in PYP inquiry and communication
They make the case that ICT has been left largely to the teacher initiative without any guidance in form of curricular design. That is very true. It is also the way I want it as a teacher! If there is a teacher who is not comfortable with technology, but is a master of getting kids to display their thinking visually and explain their reasoning, that teacher is still an amazing asset that should be cherished. Not forced to implement something they don't see the relevance of.
I am comfortable with computers and tech. I grew up with them. They are part of my life. That doesn't mean I need a bunch of standards and benchmarks to tell me how to do something that is part of the world I inhabit.
Spotlight #2: Thinking, social, communication, self-management and research skills
Technology can help elevate the tasks that we design for students. This is the gist of my problem with the article for me; they make sweeping broad comments like this and then don't explain how or why this can be done with technology better than without it. Every example they give, I can take out the technology and make it just as rich in terms of the thinking that is going on. Kids create a virtual museum. Kids create a real museum. Kids narrate stories onto computers and edit them together with images. Kids do a public reading of the story surrounding by accompanying paintings. What is the difference? What is technology adding?
Aside: The Corporation influence
Apple and Google are not in education to make the world better for people. They are in it to make money. Be wary of anything that they are selling to schools, and have these conversations with your kids. Don't let them set the agenda, or start writing curriculum. That is a bad road to go down.....
Spotlight #5: collaboration, inquiry, and problem solving
This is where technology has its true purpose to me. It can connect kids to the world. If we made an art gallery in the school we could invite people from the community using our analog methods. If we did it digitally, we could invite the world. It makes the learning community so much larger. It increases the response to our work, and it connects ideas to new ideas which form ever newer ideas.
A Plea to Technology Coordinators from me
I love technology and I use it with my kids everyday. I also love paint, and play-doh, and going outside, and getting dirty, and collaborating on big pieces of paper with those smelly markers. My plea to educational technologists is this; please don't lose that in the future schools that you envision. It is too important to throw away. Technology is great, but so is making something with your hands. The tactile must be defended. Someone must write a chapter about the The Role of the Tactile in the PYP that goes right beside this one.
|Apple Tree (by my three year old son)|