Tuesday, March 4, 2014

From Chalkboards to Tablets II

Reading the second part of the "From Chalkboards to Tablets" series of articles, I was struck by some of the statistics it mentioned. First and foremost, I was very surprised to see that urban, rural, and suburban parents had almost zero difference in their division of attitudes toward increased use of mobile device technology in classrooms. Beyond that, I was surprised to see that a clear majority are inclined in favor of a significant increase in use of technology, given that the older generation historically tends to be resistant to these sorts of sweeping institutional changes. In particular, given that in class we discussed the difficulty in re-contextualizing a device that, for many parents, is associated primarily with distraction and slacking off, I was not expecting this notion to be so broadly well-received.

This resonates with the message of the first article: that there is a tremendous groundswell of support for increased use of modern devices in the classroom. Students and their parents are both really pulling for an increased use of modern technology in the classroom, and many teachers are fired up about the prospect as well. Why, then, are there so often holdups and issues with rolling out a more advanced approach to education?

Differences in how to reach the end goal of a more technological classroom might be a major source of this apparent hesitation. Even in our own class discussions, there have been a variety of well thought out, potentially workable ideas proposed that often end up at cross-purposes. In a situation like this, with such a wide variety of approaches possible to reach a fairly vague goal, different people will find different approaches that work.

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