As I approach this blog, I really have to work to keep my cynicism in check. I wanted to comment first on the article "Learning for the 21st Century". I almost started laughing when I picked up the article and opened it to the 2nd page. The corporate sponsership of this information is pretty incredible. I am sure these companies are doing plenty, financially, to help achieve the lofty goals that they describe in their "Six Key Elements of 21st Century Learning". My negativity, unfortunately, kept ringing in my ear. How much are they actually doing to assure that these goals are met? Or do they simply get to draft the ideas and sit back, waiting for the educational system to work it all out?
As negative as my thinking may be about the article, I feel that there are some important implications of this article in education. Our society places a big emphasis on what businesses want out of our educational system. If these corporate powerhouses want our students to be equipped with "21st Century Skills", then, by-golly, we are going to do all we can to make sure they are.
My frustration comes into play because my school and most of my students are part of the digital divide. I teach at an alternative school populated by at-risk students. Our computers are out of date, which, we have been told, is supposed to change in the near future. We don't have many of the great tools that many of the other schools have. I know that my students NEED these tech. skills in order to break out of the cycle of poverty. My school is in Richfield, blocks away from the enormous Best Buy campus. We have been written grants for their tech. foundation and have been turned away every time.
On a much more positive level, I know that there are practical ways that we, as a school, can work to change this. First, I think our teachers need to become better educated about technology and how to use it in the classroom. If we are more educated about how tech. can transform our school, we will be more likely to fight for it. Part of my way of changing this was taking this course. I am lucky to be somewhere that my voice is heard and what I say may make a difference. With some of the information I have learned in this course, I plan to make myself a voice for technology and its importance to our students.
Another way to bridge this gap is finding a source of funding for the technology we need. Our district has told us that our school is priority when it comes to updating equipment. I have to believe this is true.
Getting parents onboard is another way to bridge the gap. If we can get our parents to believe in the importance of tech. learning, they can help their studetns believe it, too.Posted by kows0005 at July 14, 2005 12:14 PM