Redefining Learning

As a user and proponent of technology, it was intriguing to see the story of a technology-free school, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Silicon Valley. As the Waldorf School proves, 21st century skills (collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, etc.) can be taught without technology. Hands-on learning is great! But is it worth teaching knitting skills instead of something like digital citizenship? (After all, 78% of teens have a cell phone and 93% have access to a computer at home.)

I believe we should use technology alongside traditional methods of teaching — in whatever combination is necessary to benefit the students the most. Technology is an enhancer, not a replacer. Sure, my Careers students could learn about jobs through a textbook or research them with an encyclopedia, but it’s far more engaging to teach them with an interactive website that exposes them to information and videos about dozens of careers. It’s far more efficient to have them access the websites for the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook or O*NET OnLine to research an occupation that has piqued their interest. It’s far more practical to have them find a job application online (where many employers put their job openings) than to give them classified ads.

Technology can be an instrument through which students learn the skills they need to become innovators and contributors to the world at large (which is dominated by technology), and learn workplace skills as well. The world is better off with people who have these skills, not worse off. Technology has another benefit: a student or group of students can create a permanent record of what they learned — available for review at any time and to share with anyone — by filming videos, creating online comics, developing wikis, uploading photos of projects, creating podcasts, and so on. Technology has increased the opportunities for students to make personal and creative investments in their own education and share this with others.

Click here to how technology has redefined learning in my classroom.

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4 Comments

  1. I agree that technology is making it possible for our students to learn more about how the world functions today. I read “Who Owns the learning” for my 2nd book and in there they talk about leaving a digital legacy. I really like that idea for our children today. I think this will show them exactly how far they have grown as a person over the years and gives their self esteem a boost.

  2. I totally agree with what you say, technology when used well is good but it can not replace teachers or the traditional way of teaching.
    i consider it as an aiding tool in the process of learning to facilitate many aspects in teaching but it can not stand by its self.

    I think this article may be interesting

    http://coalcrackerclassroom.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/why-technology-cant-replace-teachers/

    Don;t you think that the focus is more on how to provide students with those tools rather than how to educate teachers about them?

  3. “Is it worth teaching knitting skills instead of something like digital citizenship?” — Loved that point you made! I’d have to argue that no, knitting skills should not be prioritized over digital citizenship! The hands-on approach that the Waldorf schools take is a tried and true method.. Yes, it will produce some critical thinkers, but will it produce the best critical thinkers for today’s world? Your blog post got me thinking about how many of my junior high kids have cell phones- I know the percentage is higher in high school most likely because they’re driving at that age. I found this article (http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/kids_cell_phones_staying_connected) that is geared more toward a younger age group.

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