Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reaction to Richardson: Chapter 1

This post is written in reaction to Will Richardson's book "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms." A full citation is offered below.

    Will Richardson takes care to point out that as the digital revolution has progressed, the field of education has been "very, very slow to react (pg. 6)." He goes on to state that this has left the traditional K-12 school and its teaching philosophies at odds with the way that its students now think about learning. If we're honest with ourselves, we can conclude that Richardson is right in his remarks. It is evident when students groan at another worksheet, complain at the weight of a textbook, or rebel against a cell phone policy. They know that there are other, more interesting ways of learning; they have by and large not met the educator who is willing and able to facilitate them.
     To that end, while I would love a school with a 1:1 student-to-technology ratio, I think a better substitute would be a "bring-your-own-device" policy for schools that are unable to provide technology. In one of my previous positions, I had students use twitter (during instruction!) to post and respond to questions, and later revisit topics of conversation. Apps such as Google Drive and Edmodo allow for students to collaborate, research, and publish assessment pieces in a way that is more familiar to them- all of which can be accessible, even in rudimentary forms, via a smartphone. Unfortunately, many schools still see this personal technology as an evil, and do what they can to outlaw it. Such policies run counter to the way that our students are motivated to learn, and I think that their education is left wanting because of it. We should be in the business of meeting students where they want to be engaged; not dragging them kicking and screaming to a classroom.
    And so, when possible, I will make a commitment to embrace these technological tools in my classroom. I believe that it can only make me a better instructor, and my students more successful learners.

References: Richardson, W. (2010) Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin