Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reflective Teaching, Day 28: Who's in charge: curriculum or technology?

Day 28--Respond: Should technology drive curriculum, or vice-versa?

The quick answer is no, technology should not drive curriculum. It is a tool, not the whole kit and caboodle.

The longer, more involved answer that I don't have the time to answer (nor do I fully HAVE the answer) is that technology has become intertwined in education and curriculum since the first day someone brought a bit of papyrus and a reed pen with ink made from some berries to a teacher's lecture. Each innovation in science or technology brought with it new inventions to help the teacher teach and the students learn.

But, the simple answer is still the best. Whether the most modern technology a teacher has is a piece of chalk and a slate or the most up-to-date interactive Smartboard with all the newest apps, the technology is a tool the teacher uses to facilitate his/her teaching and the students' learning. It shouldn't be the end all and be all.

It is important for us teachers to learn about the technological advances; the students we teach, after all, are digital natives; they've never lived in a world without Smartphones or personal computers. It's the "age of the Geek, baby" (to quote Hardison from Leverage), and we are seeing technology advance at an ever-increasing speed with which, unfortunately, schools cannot keep pace.

Despite the importance for us to be as up-to-date as our budgets and comprehension can handle, it is still the content that is important. We still need to teach math and science and language arts and social studies and fine arts and practical arts and physical education and all the rest so that our students can be productive members of society. How we use the tools available to us is secondary, and that is a good thing to remember.

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