I was surprised how easily I was able to adapt my contemporary literacy slides for a science teacher audience. It all cuts down to the notion that it isnâ€™t about the technology. Itâ€™s about the information, and information is at the root of teaching and learning. The information has changed (digital, networked, and overwhelming) and so the literacy skills â€” learning literacies â€“ must also change, expand, and continue to adapt to the ever-changing information landscape.
I was reading David Warlick’s blog (2 Cents Worth) when I came across this little paragraph. Wow–how true is it that it’s not about the technology?! It seems like it’s an uphill battle to convince people that we shouldn’t be focusing on iPods, Palm Pilots, YouTube, MySpace, etc…these are merely tools, and mind you, tools that probably won’t be around 6 months or a year from now. Or maybe they will–who knows? The focus should be on how we can use these tools to engage kids.
I think about a dicussion that Digimom and I had the other day. We are so jealous that we are not digital natives. We want to be and I think we’re on that cut-off area, but really, we didn’t grow up surrounded by technology. This discussion came up when we were talking about her daughter listening to a Dr. Seuss book (on an iPod no less) and laughing when they were talking about the phone cord being cut. She thought it was ridiculous that you have a phone with a cord! Wait a minute–it wasn’t that long ago, was it? Oh yeah, we had phones with the rotary dials on them, but still…fast-forward to today and her daughter not only uses cordless phones, but cell phones and can talk to me in real time via iChat. And it’s second-nature to her! While we sit down and spend hours figuring out how to set up and use something, these kids just pick it up and intuitively use it for whatever purpose they need. That brings me back to my point–it’s not about the stuff. As educators, we need to realize the focus should be on the work–the task. What is our intended result? What’s the best tool to get us that result? Will that mean having to re-evaluate our network policies or hardware/software approval policies? Probably, but if it means that we’re providing kids with the latest tools and we’re showing them how to use the tools appropriately, then isn’t that more important? We’re supposed to be preparing kids for the real world–“netizens” if you will. Learning literacies…something to think about…
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