Miguel wonders if IT is becoming extinct. That’s “I” as in Instructional technology.
Similar questions have been wandering around a lot in my warped little brain lately, based both on conversations from EduCon 2.0 and what I see going on in our overly-large school district.
While I have mixed feelings about the case Miguel tries to make for the proposition (he doesn’t seem convinced by it either), I do strongly agree with at least one point.
New collaboration tools make it easy and possible for non-techies to accomplish what they always needed others for. Rather than continue to prevent access to these tools, we need to foster ownership of specific tools by classroom teachers, campus administrators, and others. Whether this is a walled garden or not, doesn’t matter anymore. The tools are there…and they’re going to use them with or without approval.
Maybe a better question to consider is, have we moved beyond a usefulness for anything called “instructional” technology?
Should we accept the fact that almost any technology could be used for teaching and learning? Certainly anything that we would even remotely consider putting in the classroom.
However, beyond the label we put on it, there is another of Miguel’s points about IT I’m very much drawn to: “Traditional technology integration has been a profound failure.”.
Look into most of the classrooms in our school system, and especially at the curriculum materials produced in our central office, and you’ll see little or no “integration”.
The use of technology in the minds of most is still a “nice to have” extra, one which is grafted on the side of traditional classroom practice.
Glitz to show off to parents, principals, and school board members. Something we get to do once the standardized tests are done and we have time for something beyond test prep.
But I’m not blaming testing programs or NCLB (for once :-). Or most teachers, for that matter. Because American education is more than a walled garden. It’s a fortress.
And the guardians work like hell to keep the real world outside the wall and to retain the class structure that places teachers in the role of givers of knowledge and students as the recipients.
However, despite their best efforts, all the new technology that allows easy communication and collaboration is becoming “instructional” whether we bless it with that adjective or not.
Whether it fits with our concept of “school” or not.
So, is “instructional technology” extinct? Or is it just a label that never really had a clear meaning in the first place?
Questions. Not a lot of answers.