Now I know I link to just about every one of Barbara’s posts, but she’s just so darned smart and articulate when it comes to the whole blogs in the classroom thing that it still amazes me that she only has 45 subscribers on Bloglines. And today’s post is no different, though I feel myself heading down a bit of a different path than I normally would when writing about her reflections. Regardless of what follows here, read her post…it’s great thinking about blogs.
What has my interest today, however, is the following quote from Elmine Wijnia which Barbara cites:
To me that is the biggest challenge the educational system faces in the next few years. Schools are not dealing with the way teenagers learn. They are taught by people that grew up and finished their education before the internet era. Lots of teachers still lack the skills to teach current teenagers in the way they are familiar with and can understand. Loads of information is coming to them via the internet and everything they do is through the screen: the learning, the reading, downloading and listening to music, writing, designing and most importantly: communicating with the world. And if everything teenagers do is through the screen, why then is there so little taught through the screen??? It’s time for a change, it’s time to blog! (or to use wiki’s or whatever you prefer as long as it’s screen wise)
Yesterday’s quiz about the state of education stemmed in part from the reminder those facts gave me about how divorced from reality my school is when it comes to graduation rates and college. I don’t teach in the real world, and I think I need to remember that more than I do. This is especially true when I think about the level of technology use and the natives/immigrants discussion that I write and speak about so often. In my zip code, kids do have the access, the computers, the iPods. (You should see their cars…) But my zip code is not the norm, and by and large, kids who go to college are not the norm either according to the numbers.
Which begs the question, is it really the norm that “everything teenagers do is through the screen?” A bit ago, David Warlick left a comment here that this idea was a myth, and more and more I’m thinking he’s right. It’s not a myth at my school, but nationally, it’s a lot more complex than the digital natives description offers. And so the answers about blogging and technology are more complex as well.
I’ve been drafting a type of ed-bloggers credo, for lack of a better description, and I think the first tenet on the list has to be about working first and foremost to get people access. It was a point Pat Delaney made a long, long time ago, back when he was one of only a handful of educators who was exploring blogs. It’s one worth remembering.