@bridgers sent me the link to Digital Citizenship by the Australian writer/researcher, Mark Pesce. At the heart of this excellent examination of the impact of technology on schools lies this assertion:
The classroom has not dealt with the phenomenal transformation in the connectivity of the broader culture, and is in danger of becoming obsolesced by it.
I follow @bridgers faithfully on Twitter and have frequently shared her observations and information from her links with current students. She is four years out of my classroom and has already become a new media expert. We are co-learners the relationship we maintain through our mutual interest in Web 2.0 demonstrates the "phenomenal transformation" of which Pesce speaks. There were no @bridgers networked into my life when she was a student in my classroom. But I would argue that teachers and adminstrators who have not connected with the @bridgers online in 2009 are actively engaged in "becoming obsolesced":
We already live in a time of disconnect, where the classroom has stopped reflecting the world outside its walls. The classroom is born of an industrial mode of thinking, where hierarchy and reproducibility were the order of the day.
Just looking about myself here in Southeastern, Michigan, the phrase "industrial mode of thinking" is enough to send shivers down my spine. "Way of thinking" is the key. I've found that many of my colleagues regard my zest for bringing web 2.0 to the classroom as a novelty. One called it a "hobby." Others certainly see it as something one does beyond regular teaching. "When do you have time to learn it?" or "How do you fit this into everything else you teach?" And those are the ones who will even talk about technology without sneering.
Administrators think they want "computing" but they are no more likely to buy into the culture of connecting beyond the walls. Case in point, we had a fledgling "tech integration committee" at school for one semester this year. The budget is tight for next year and guess what disappeared? It's easier to buy hardware and software licenses than to truly commit to culture change.
Pesce speaks of the universal solvent of the network dissolving educational institutions as we know them. Some pretty bright minds in the domestic auto industry couldn't or wouldn't recognize change and ended up submitting control of their destinies. Could this happen to schools?
"Connexions - Digital Networks" Flickr Creative Commons Photo by cstmweb
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