From the department of the ‘Bleedin’ Obvious’ …

Apparently, you can’t just throw computers at kids and expect them to learn better! Who would have thought??! Amazing!

Surely this isn’t news? Yet here we have C|Net reporting on a major technology conference, Future in Review 2008, where educators (again, of course, who else?) are identified as the ones failing kids… Blah blah blah.

It seems to me that the responsibility for improving the use of technology in schools ought to be shared. At the school level, for instance, support staff need to take a less active role in determining the constraints placed on learning policy. Allow imagination to drive the use of technology a little.

At the system level, we could do with greater flexibility in tertiary-entry exams to allow a greater choice of tools: students at some technology-rich schools are actually disadvantaged when they sit down at the end of Year 12 to a pen & paper exam like their grandparents faced. Teacher-training courses need to better integrate technology in every single area of teaching methodology and abandon the idea of ICT being a subject in its own right.

Teachers have to accept and prioritise the important – and, yes, time-consuming – responsibility of becoming thoroughly familiar with technology.

And finally, commentators would do well to back off on painting this issue in such black and white terms. The next time someone uses the term digital native or digital immigrant I’m going to scream. I know it makes for snappy headlines and seminar titles, but really…

Technology and education are a match made in heaven. But a cooperative approach is needed.

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