The Next Generation of Teachers Published 2007-03-22

Will Richardson has a very interesting post reflecting on a recent visit with a class of pre-service teachers. Link to post. Be sure to read the discussion that follows. There are some really smart comments.

I particularly liked Kevin Prentiss' contribution:

... Early adopters are always a small percentage. Most people don’t ever “get” contextual shifts in a society, they just start using new tools /ways when everyone else does.

How many iPod users read, understand, or care about the “Long Tail” - but many of them buy the heck out of obscure songs they found on myspace without giving it a moment’s thought.

I agree with Kevin to the extent that as the technology becomes "ubiquitous", more and more teachers will incorporate it into their teaching. But I think that a distinction needs to be made between two aspects of Will's vision: the first is the technology (e.g. the read/write web) and the second is the pedagogy (student centered / constructionist). I have seen a good number of teachers incorporating technology like blogs and digital media into their classes. But they remain teacher-centric. I would argue that this is not a discouraging development, but actually encouraging.

Changing one's tools is an incremental change or one that is relatively easy to do. Changing one's mindset is a transformative change that requires greater support, motivation, and encouragement. But if a teacher is already comfortable with the technology (tools), the process of change will be easier - one less element of discomfort to overcome.

Another issue that was slightly address in the discussion was that of professional development. If we are expecting teachers to embrace a student centered learning environment utilizing technology, we need to fashion our pre-service and in-service teachings to reflect this philosophy. Will holds Karl Fisch's workshops up as an example. I would love to attend one of his sessions. Have you hear of other examples of professional development leaders who model this constructionist approach?


Tom Krieglstein said...

Hey Rob, thanks for the shoutout on your post about our blog Swift Kick Technology.

I wanted to make sure you didn't get lost as we switched our blogs. We closed the SK Tech blog and merged it into the our new blog Activities and Affairs: All for One.

The idea is to be a central location for all things related to Student Affairs. Your input on the project would be great as it is community driven. Take care. Tom.