Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When Technology Fails...

To say technology can be frustrating is an understatement. We've all felt it. You know how it's supposed to work, but it doesn't seem to do what you want it to do (or it crashes, etc.). An experience like that happened to me just this afternoon and I thought, what a good learning opportunity. I hear all the time, our kids know how to use this stuff, but I just can't seem to understand it or I get so frustrated with it. What is the difference between us and our kids when it comes to technology? There are several different things, but one that I realized - they don't give up. If something doesn't work, they try - try again. They figure it out. Isn't this problem solving? Maybe not in the way educators want or think of problem solving, but they're using their brains to figure out how to make something work.

Problem solving is definitely a 21st century skill and allowing our students to struggle a little when trying to figure something out is okay (this isn't only true of technology, but anything). Encourage your students to figure it out on their own and allow them to fail.

The next time technology fails you,'s a learning opportunity!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Information, Media, and Technology Skills

Information, Media, and Technology Skills is another cog in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework. These, in fact, are emerging as the new set of literacies that today's students really need to understand: Information Literacy; Media Literacy; ICT (Information, Communication, and Technology) Literacy.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills address the fact that we live in "technology and media-suffused environment" and schools/teachers who ignore this fact will quickly become extinct (that is my opinion - not the Partnership for 21st Century Skills). Many teachers fear the idea that if technology becomes a part of the educational system, their services may no longer be required and they'll be out a job. Who, then, will teach them about the literacies of the 21st century? Those teachers who continue to ignore these new literacies will be the ones who become extinct, but not because technology will replace them, but because teachers who understand how to use and leverage the technology to engage and teacher students will replace them.

Will you become extinct or will you choose to better understand how the face of education is changing?