I dare you to give a 16 year old a car but don’t give them any information about the rules of the road or a map. Tell ‘em to just wing it. Teach yourself, kid. How well do you think that would work out? Just think about the damage that could do. So why do we think that kids (not to mention adults) and computers will just “figure it out”?
I get really worked up when I think about the state of technology in our schools. How can we expect that our children will be prepared to face the hi-tech world outside of their school walls? When they graduate from high school, will the be adept at the tools they will find in the workplace? Are they able to speak the language, navigate data, and keep themselves safe? Will they even be able to find jobs? No No No No No and No. They have no opportunities in which to be prepared. If the teachers don’t know, then how can they arm our future breadwinners with the skills they’ll need to survive in this increasingly digital world? The more I think about it, the more upset I get.
I wish I could go door to door and teach the teachers. Get them up to speed on what’s available (see Social Media in the Classroom), work them through their fears so that they can figure out ways that they can use these amazing tools in their classrooms. Essays in blogs, language learning via video conference, literary discussions in collaborative digital classrooms, higher math assistance available on streaming video, mobile applications that allow you to “adopt a creek” and report statistical data regarding the biosphere, architectural designs tested via augmented reality and 3D rendering software. All available. All begging to be played with. All limited only by our imaginations.
We need to teach them them how to research, develop, communicate, program, build, compute, be productive and stay safe. These skills are only going to become more necessary. There simply has to be a way to gear up and get these people they skills they need. Our financial livelihoods and economy depends on it. You wouldn’t dream of handing a kid keys to a vehicle and not training him how to use it. Carnage will follow.