In order to account for the need of technology within the classroom, Conole (2012) points to emerging trends that have resulted from the changes to communication and the access to information in the 21st century. They include: a “web that enables mediation and user generation of content… new practices of sharing and mechanisms for content production, communication and collaboration… new possibilities for sharing and harnessing the ‘network effects’” (p.48).
Like Conole, I find it difficult to ignore these shifts in how today’s society operates. Education should at the very least prepare students for today’s world as well as begin to consider what skills will be required five, ten and twenty years down the track.
The University of Pheonix Research Institute for the Future’s ‘Future Work Skills 2020’ highlights the importance of teaching technology in the classroom.
Here it shows the ‘drivers’ new media ecology and globally connected world linking to Conole’s trends of networked learning and new practices for content production. These in turn, require the skills new media literacy, computational thinking, cognitive load management, and virtual collaboration.
Linking to this week’s reading, Eliza Anyangwe’s blog post “20 ways of thinking about digital literacy in higher education” brings together expert’s opinions of how digital literacy should be addressed today in schools. Among which, professor of new media at De Montfort University, Sue Thomas reiterates the importance of transliteracy. She claims that abilities of the past such as reading and writing are still important today, people need to be able to adapt to modern forms of media such as making posts on Pinterest or blog entries (para. 20). These no doubt tie into the skills required for new media literacy.
David White, also noted in the post, argues that digital literacy skills help you manage distraction. This is something showcased in the ‘Future of Work Skills 2020’ through cognitive load management skill. “Organizations and workers will only be able to turn the massive influx of data into an advantage if they can learn to effectively filter and focus on what is important” (p.12).
Without proper technology based training, students will have little hope for competing in this rapidly changing world.
The need to incorporate digital literacy skill is just one of the reasons for using technology in my classroom. Enabling student access to an authentic audience and allowing for continuous feedback is another. Alan November examines these concepts further in his blog “Clearing the Confusion between Technology Rich and Innovative Poor: Six Questions.” Technology is the vehicle by which we access these authentic modern experiences and as a result, it should be drawn upon within the classroom.
Does this mean we should always use technology? No, it does not.
One example… In a previous post, I highlighted Puentedura’s SMAR model. I don’t think the choice to use technology should be always made for the substitution levels.
Regardless, technology is shaping our interactions with the world. The classroom is definitely the right space for upskilling our students so they can confidently contribute to society.
Conole, G. (2012). Designing for Learning in an Open World (1st ed.). New York: Springer.
November, A. (2015). Clearing the Confusion between Technology Rich and Innovative Poor: Six Questions. Retrieved from http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/teaching-and-learning-articles/clearing-confusion-technology-rich-innovative-poor-six-questions/