Monday, October 24, 2011

No Technology Until High School?

This weekend there was an article in the NYTimes that spoke about the Waldorf School located in northern California. Below is a quote from the article:

"This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans."

The school does not believe that technology is necessary or a valuable tool in education. They perceive it as a distraction. Their philosophy is to focus on the basics of reading and writing with traditional instructional methods.

This is a topic that may bring about a lot of debate. I would be interested to hear your comments? I believe that it is important to focus our curriculum. We sometimes get caught up in the fads and new gadgets. However, if used "as a tool" i believe that technology has an impact on student achievement. It is my belief that we should not be teaching technology. It is not about the technology itself. That will always be changing. The students will adapt to those changes on their own. It should be about the content. How can we use technology as a tool to suppport the essentials within our curriculum?

I support the universal design for learning framework. In order to address the various needs in our classroom we need to differentiate content, process and product. We can use technology to represent content in a multitude of ways.  When used appropriately it engages students and allows for alternative methods of evaluation and assessment. Our public schools have students with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and needs. As educators we must do our best to individualize the learning experiences for our students to be sure they are successful. Technology is a tool to aid in this process.

I also believe it is iresponsible for educators to ignore the footprint of information and breadth of knowledge available through the web. How do we not teach students to manage and vet the information that is available to them on the internet? The web and mobile technologies allows students to collaborate with others. It allows students to make connections, write for an audience and compare perspectives of others. Ignoring this opportunity and limiting a child's education to what is available within the four walls of a classroom is not an effective education in the 21st century.


What are your thoughts?

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