EdTech 541 Vision Statement
Vision Statement: Builders of Tomorrow
Hundreds of years ago, it was possible to build a simple four-walled structure using basic rudimentary tools like shovels, hammers, nails, and a lot of manpower. Today, engineers and architects work together to design soaring skyscrapers with tools far more sophisticated than simple hammers and nails. Large earthmovers dig foundations deep into the ground where concrete beams and columns are secured into solid rock, thus supporting the weight and height of the building. Heavy machinery and cranes raise steel beams high into the sky, which serve as the framework for the building. Corridors, staircases, elevators, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, and drainage systems are critical components of a modern skyscraper.
While basic structures could still be built today without the help of sophisticated concrete pumps, cranes and earthmovers, the reality is that skyscrapers would likely not exist. The same is true for 21st century classrooms. Teachers can continue to teach using traditional methods, or tools, of the past and students will continue to learn. The question then becomes, is it enough? Are the students truly prepared for the rigors of the future in this fast-paced information age if only given basic hammers and nails, basic reading, writing, and arithmetic? This heavy burden of discernment rests upon the shoulders of today’s educators.
Never before has information and technology changed at such a rapid pace. Roblyer & Doering (2012) state:
“Many educators now believe that the world is changing too quickly to define education in terms of specific information or skills; they believe it should focus instead on more general capabilities, such as “learning to learn” skills, that will help citizens cope with inevitable technological change.”
The top 10 jobs of today did not even exist 10 years ago (21st Century Education, 2010). If trends continue, today’s average nine-year old American, will likely have a career 10 years from now that possibly doesn’t even exist in 2015. How are educators expected to teach students the skills they will need for this fast-paced and quickly changing technological society?
The answer is simple, integrating technology into the classroom or bringing in the heavy machinery, the concrete pumps and cranes, to take education to a higher level. Putting an entry-level construction worker in charge of a heavy crane that can hoist a steel beam high into the sky is not going to accomplish the task of building a skyscraper alone. Giving a child an iPad or laptop will not accomplish the task of preparing that student for the future in the 21st century. “No technology is a panacea for education” (Roblyer & Doering, 2012). Computers and tablets are nothing more than tools that have the ability to enhance learning. When teachers use these tools students are able to explore great cities of the past and present, communicate with other children and experts across the world via video-conferencing, take field trips to far off lands, create and design engineering marvels, draft and publish their own writing, and so much more.
There are many advantages and benefits for the teachers that choose to embrace the heavy machinery, the tools, of advancing technology. For teachers, technology has the ability to change the way a teacher teaches. When appropriately used, technology can individualize and personalize lessons to be more engaging and interactive for the students. Because teachers have access to relevant data and the ability to connect students with the content and activities that meet their individual learning styles and needs, they can personalize learning for more students at any given time and ensure that all students are reaching their full learning potential (Roskos & Neuman, 2014). Integrating technology with classroom practice has the ability to strengthen engagement by linking students to a global audience, turning them into creators of digital media, builders of grand skyscrapers, and helping them practice collaboration skills that will prepare them for the future. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals (Edutopia, 2015). For the 21st century classroom, the advantages of technology integration are limitless.
Technology is nothing short of exciting. Students of today are the entrepreneurs and creators of tomorrow. Allowing students to use the more sophisticated tools of today allows them to open their minds to possibilities we cannot even possibly imagine for tomorrow.
21st Century Education [21stCenturyNB]. (2010, March 28). 21st Century education in New Brunswick, Canada [Video file]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/EjJg9NfTXos
An Introduction to Technology Integration. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction-video
Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. (6th ed.). [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com.
Roskos, K., & Neuman, S. B. (2014). Best practices in reading: A 21st century skill update. The Reading Teacher, 67(7), 507-511. doi: 10.1002/trtr.1248