Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Journal #9

Are Schools Inhibiting 21st Century Learning?
By Dave Nagel

In this article the author discusses the results of a survey, conducted by Project Tomorrow, which polled about 360,000 teachers, students, and administrators about the use of technology in schools. This survey has been conducted every year for the last five years. According to this article students are way ahead of their parents and teachers when it comes to their usage of technologies both in their personal lives and for educational purposes. Although the survey indicates that teachers, parents, and administrators are excited about the possibilities offered by technology and are eager to learn more about ways to explore these possibilities, there is nevertheless a disconnect between educators and students.
Many students feel that school "security" practices, such as Web filtering, are limiting their ability to take advantage of technology for learning. They feel that teachers and school IT departments are doing just throwing up barriers to learning with the very technology that's supposed to facilitate it. They are not satisfied with the manner and extent to which technology has been integrated into their education.

Students and teachers do share some views though. For example, both groups are enthusiastic about the possibilities that gaming offers in terms of addressing the needs of a wider variety of learning styles as well as making school and classes more fun. Students and educators also agree that the ability to use mobile technologies, and especially laptop computers, at school would be very beneficial to everyone. Moreover, teachers and administrators are becoming more willing to embrace tools such as blogging and social networking which they had previously seen as distractions rather than valuable tools for enhancing learning.

Overall, the results of this survey indicate that as technology becomes more and more pervasive students, teachers, and administrators are becoming more aware of the potential benefits of technology tools, and are more willing to educate themselves about how to utilize them in educational settings.

Question 1: What is the number 1 technology choice for teachers and administrators?

Answer: According to the survey, One to One laptop programs, programs where every student in the school has access to a laptop, are the number one technology choice for teachers and administrators.

Question 2: According to students, what are some of the benefits of using educational computer gaming?

Answer: Many high school and middle school students said that games make it easier to understand difficult concepts. They said that they would learn more about a subject if information were presented in a game format. Students also feel that the use of games in school would make it more interesting to practice problems and would help them learn how to work in teams and see the direct results of their problem solving activities.