It has been an interesting week. Via asynchronous discussions, I have been talking with my graduate students (all K-12 teachers) about the relevance of our Web 2.0 course for an Ed Admin program for future school administrators. Their assignment this week was to review Will Richardson’s post “URGENT: 21st Century Skills for Educators (and Others) First ” and the 145-plus comments associated with the post. As a commenter in Will’s post, I had mentioned that some of my students did not think this Web 2.0 course was indeed relevant to future administrators, which brought out a few snappy remarks from other bloggers.
I think that our discussion turned into a very healthy and reflective one, focused more on effective ways to modify the standard School of Education course into one that met the needs of this particular class. In looking at customization, we actually moved the class more towards the Web 2.0 – PLE end of the spectrum than what was originally in the School of Education curriculum. They definitely saw the need for administrators to be tech savvy and tech advocates – their heartburn lay in the current course focusing only on the teaching side to the detriment of administrative issues. We are therefore modifying the final third of the course to do just that.
I also had a chance this week to be a guest speaker in another graduate class geared towards preparing future faculty for university teaching. My audience were primarily in their twenties and in discussing their backgrounds, appeared very tech savvy. However, when I pulled the technology string, less than half used social media sites and only 14% used RSS feeds. It reinforced to me once again that “tech savvy” is a fluid term. These students were not scared of technology, but their motivation appeared to be one of looking to be better lecturers.
I hope we mentors help change their minds and help them see the balance needed between classroom activities and online activities. Shari Dinkins in Inside Higher Education talked about this in “Learning to Teach Tech Savvy Students“. She said:
“In the end, technology is just a tool. Used in moderation, it can support learning. Used indiscriminately, it can hamper learning. And this tool, like others, requires an investment of time for professors. A great deal of education, preparation, and hands-on experience will make the incorporation of technology in the classroom a valuable addition for students. And although sleek hardware and do-everything software may seem pivotal to the learning experience, it’s smart to seek a balance. Face-to-face interaction not only prepares our students for college coursework and the office; it also helps them become important players in our society.”
[Photo Credit: Rutty at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rutty/503238148/]