A New Outlook!

Had an eye opening email that hopefully will prompt more indepth discussion.

I've been trying to decide on some electives to teach for next year at my new school here in MO. The asst. principal gave me the freedome to choose elective topics, but kept hinting that there should be a webpage programming class. I've tried to stay away from that topic, because frankly I've never taught an HTML class before. Then I got to thinking, why do we want kids to learn HTML anyway? Most of the web content that middle school kids are used to dealing with on a daily bases is dynamic in nature and utilizes programing languages like PHP, JavaScript, Flash, XML, etc. To be honest, I know how to use these, but have no clue how to program with them. After updating their profile in Bebo, watching videos on YouTube, and playing the latest MMORPG, creating a static webpage would be pretty boring.

So the big question is, should we be teaching students to code pages or should we be guiding them to create effective online content?

Chances are students, or adults for that matter, will spend more time online producing content than they will be formatting that content.

This may be the fundamental challenge that needs to be met head-on. What skills do students needed to be equipped with to maintain a steady view in such a rapidly changing technological environment?

  1. Collaboration--Can students interact with one another to complete tasks? Can they compromise or even disagree in a God pleasing way? Can they work with someone they don't know? See?

  2. Information Literacy--This is different from technology literacy. Technology gets you TO the information, but is that information accurate? Reliable? Is the source of the information credible? Can students understand the graphs, charts, or any other ways information or data is presented to them?

To see more specifics about of 21st Century Learning Skills Check out the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

This is a change for me as a technology coordinator or teacher, because it no longer is about the technology, but about teaching pedagogy! It's not about the tool as much as it is about what teachers are doing with it.

Yikes! Where not asking teachers to add new pieces to their all ready full tool boxes, but we are telling them they need to change the way they teach!

What do you think about that?

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