Bet The Digital Farm On Education Online

“Teachers cannot and will not be replaced by technology — but teachers who don’t use technology will be replaced by teachers who do. It will be far more productive and far less frustrating if we as educators change our attitudes toward technology rather than try to change our students’ attitudes toward it. Information technologies are here to stay.”

-Doug Johnson

I just got that quote from a conversation between me and a few other educators in the back of a room full of students.

OK, actually, the quote is from a conversation I am having online with dozens of educators from around the world, the classroom we are in is actually a live video feed of a session in Doha, Quatar at the 2009 Flat Classroom Conference, and the students in front of the camera are watching/listening/interacting with Thomas Friedman, who is being video-conferenced in for the students from Washington, D.C.

I? I am in my bathrobe, in my house, in California. Compared to how I grew up learning, one word comes to my mind:

Insane!Flat Classroom

I mean, what?! This all blows my mind in such an exciting, revolutionary, so-right-for-the-times kind of way.

I know, I know, this tech has been in use for years. And I have used webcams and instant messaging and seen conferences online before, but something this morning about seeing these kids get excited and involved in this dynamic – it was like watching what we need to be doing with our schools. Compared to how I grew up learning in the classrooms in which I was a student, this is, um… modern? Current? What matters to kids now?

It just really brands in my brain the fact that we educators must go to where they are – the “they” that are the reason we got into education in the first place. We must fully embrace their daily experience, one of which is technology. We want the future to be positive so we work with kids to prepare them to be their best in it, but when we do that and do not use and learn about the tools of the present and future, we are throwing a big fat parking brake on their education, their rate of learning, and the future because we are teaching them in the context that we are familiar with, not them.


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  1. #1 by Kevin Prentiss on January 26, 2009 - 8:24 am

    here here. good stuff. check out educon as well (search twitter #tag #educon and #educon22) the whole thing is archived online.

    it’s amazing.

  2. #2 by Steve Arrowood on January 26, 2009 - 9:52 am

    Thanks, Kevin. I definitely will check out Educon, as I was reading all about it on Twitter.

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