The other day I was speaking with a colleague who has been teaching Social Studies for 25 years. We were discussing some of the technologies that are available (Moodle, Wikis, Blogging, Second Life,Click Response Technology, CellPhone responses, etc.) He had a very valid question, "Why should these technologies be utilized for discussion? Why can't the kids just raise their hands and participate through verbal discussion when called on as well? Are we setting an unrealistic scenario for them when they go out into the work force? Its doubtful that their boss is going to ask them to Moodle a work order." I know this discussion might seem contrary to the goals of the Web 2.0 organization, but I saw a lot of valid arguments from this teacher. What does the community think?

Tags: 2.0, New, Practical., Technologies, Web

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I don't think it has to be an either/or proposition. These technologies should be seen as additional tools in the classroom to supplement what teachers have been doing. It is NOT doubtful that their boss will ask them to setup an online meeting and prepare work orders using an online database. That is certain.
Hi Chris~

I also use technology in the classroom as a way to differentiate and offer different options for different learning styles. I worked for 18 years prior to returning to teaching in the business world where we literally communicated at least 70 percent of the time and used various interfaces to do our work-- all on computers. I believe that it is as likely that a boss will be communicating via tech as not, and that the skills learned by using tech as a teaching tool only add to the necessary skill set in the world today. In my experience, education is one of the last areas where we are really in may ways behind the curve because our profession is not really "market driven". It may be 'scores driven" but we are not hired and fired based on our skills once tenured. In the business world, you get it or you are gone in many cases.

So I guess I also disagree with the premise of the comment made by the teacher. Like it or not, this is the world we live in and it is not changing. Less and less face to face interaction outside the world of tech occurrs. Although it is not the reason I use it, students who are not familiar with the skills and tools used in this world will be at a disadvantage.

I use moodle as a teaching tool and I know that many businesses use systems that are a very similar premise. "Content management" exists in most businesses. Folks who have been teaching their entire careers, or for a long time may just not be aware of it!

Thanks for the opportunity to chat about this.

Ask him what job will require his students to know any of the material he teaches.

I teach social studies myself and I guarantee my kids won't use any of the actual curriculum I teach them :p

I would much rather they learn how to learn in my classroom and the fact is we'll be using technology to learn for the foreseeable future.

Can kids learn the "old" way? Of course they can. But they can generally learn more efficiently and effectively with technology.
Chris, I don't care whether it's 'old fashioned' to side with your colleague or not but I agree with him. I've taught gifted kids K-6 for 25 years and I get much deeper, more thoughtful, and more reflective insights from my kids when we have a discussion face to face than I ever do in writing. Let me know if you want me to elaborate.
I think that a face to face discussion is always the best case scenario but that isn't always possible. By using the various technologies you can get more students to respond that don't always respond in class. When you have at least 100 kids in class, these technologies are very valuable.
All of these are valid points, and I'm glad to see we can discuss them in such a civil forum. I'm not trying to stir the pot, but open the lines of communication. As a technology teacher I see the utility in many of these new tools. However, when we start discussing cell phones as responder devices or communication facilitation devices, I become a bit leery of the idea that we may be creating a generation of adapters who find themselves so wedded to the technology that basic conversation falls by the wayside. I also hold a Social Studies endorsement and the concept of teacher as facilitator holds promise, but as I see more and more literature about doing away with the brick and mortar establishments, I wonder if we are doing our students a disservice. It certainly makes classroom management easier, but our we abandoning established routines in favor of newer toys? I utilize WordPress to keep my class informed, but its really a fallback so that my students can' use the excuse,"I didn't know that was due." I use Sketchup to allow students to bring their imaginations to reality in graphical form. I use Alice to give students a taste of programming.I encourage students to find an issue and then use Blogger to discuss it. However, I still find the most vocational promise in office applications such as Word, PP or Excel.
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I think our students are going to have to diversify. Each method of communication has important skills to learn. Remember when you are trying to support or defend an opinion face to face, you get to use more tools that appeal to the emotional sides of an argument (facial expressions, body language, tone of voice). With a text based argument you can think and revise before you submit, but you don't have much to work with besides bold text or caps to reinforce a point.
I think he has a point. While students will need to know how to connect to each other and accomplish business online, the fact is that many students already use these tools compulsively for social reasons. Where will students learn to read faces, body language, etc. When we engage in a compulsive behavior (e.g.internet addictions) what are we sacrificing in terms of real learning and growth? I this Social Studies teacher senses that something is missing.
I say this every time this discussion comes up, but I'll say it again. IMHO most of what kids 12-25 do with technology outside of school is really low level stuff--txting, IM, downloading pirated movies and music, uploading videos of body parts and fights in the girls bathroom to YouTube, ipodding, podcasting, Skyping, Facebooking, MySpacing. This stuff does not take a degree in rocket scientist. I'm sure there are some high school teachers who are seeing ground breaking stuff done with technology but I thinking the outside of school stuff that has marked these kids as 'digital natives' is not so much!



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