Technology really is ubiquitous. It is a common and frequently used feature in our daily lives. A person will use technology in most routine tasks such as communication, collaboration, organizing their life, or navigating to a new location just to name a few. One question that I ponder while I think about this topic; Is there a profession that does not use technology? I am unaware of a job that does not require the use technology. Our students are returning home and using technology to complete homework, communicate, and collaborate online. It has become a seamless piece of their life and it is what our learners know. Since technology is transforming our daily lives, transformation in the classroom in teaching and learning is essential.
The state of South Carolina recently passed a new initiative promoting technology integration into the classroom called SC Profile of a Graduate. The purpose of this initiative was to determine what skill set a graduate would need in order to be successful citizen, a life long learner, and valuable employee along with meeting the required standards. In this digital age, most professionals are required to have the skills to critically think, collaborate, create, and communicate to be productive partners in the workplace. It is no longer effective for our learners to memorize and regurgitate information for an assessment. To be effective employees one is required to formulate high order thinking questions, understand how to obtain the information and synthesize it for an audience. In order to meet these requirements, it is essential our state’s schools integrate technology into the classroom.
In the article on Edutopia, it discusses how technology prices are dropping for various tools, which bridges the gap for the digital divide. People have options to purchase top of the line products from big name companies such as Apple, or similar products with a cheaper price tag. School districts should be taking advantage of the smaller price tag items to get technology into the classroom, preparing our learners for the future and helping to bridge this gap.
Essentially, technology links teaching and learning to a level that was never previously achieved. Students have access to up to date information on the web, can collaborate on a project with students from another country through Web 2.0 tools or Google Drive, communicate with an expert to gain a deeper understanding of the concept through Skype, Google Hangout or FaceTime. These options were not available or even thinkable before. These real world and authentic application opportunities prepares our learners with the World Class Skills that are stated in the SC Profile of a Graduate. Without technology, one cannot obtain a high level of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. Technology will not be going anywhere, so we need to embrace it and move forward so our students are prepared for the future.
In order for our students to meet the Profile of a SC Graduate, our district is slowly moving into a more constructivist approach to teaching our future. Through the use of Problem Based Learning, Blended Classroom, Gamification, our district is making learning more personal and student centered in the classroom. We are also using the works of Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey, we are preparing our teachers with the foundation to build learning environments that invite choice, responsibility, student engagement, to facilitate meaningful interest and understanding the content.
Bray, Barbara. & McClaskey, Kathleen. (2015). Making learning personal. Thousand Oaks, CA. Corwin.
Edutopia (2007, November). Why do we need to technology integration? retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-importance
SCASA Superintendent roundtable and South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. (2015) http://www.scchamber.net/workforce-education/profile-south-carolina-graduate, http://www.eoc.sc.gov/Home/Profile%20of%20the%20Graduate/Profile%20of%20the%20SC%20Graduate.pdf