What do you think?

What do you think?

1. I think that great teaching can occur without the use of technology. I've written:

In light of the fact that I don't think language is a technology, I can confidently argue that teaching can effectively take place without technology. Furthermore, I don't believe the statement that "technology is what allows us to socialize learning," is entirely true. Technology *can* aid in socializing learning, but learning can be social without any technology at all (haven't you ever sat in a face-to-face idea exchange?).
I guess what I'm really learning through all of this discussion is that even though I love technology and firmly believe in its transformational power in educational practice, I'm also increasingly learning to love - and even to crave - those moments of brilliance when a teacher is able to motivate, captivate, and mold the minds of their students without the use of electricity. I know that some of the most powerful and memorable lessons I've ever experienced took place without any technology - and to ignore this fact (and the power of pure teaching) would be the real travesty.
2. I think we need to be careful.  With Jennifer Jones, I wonder about blogging, social media, and all that it entails for educators.
I question power and influence, as well as quality. I question if we’re developing systems that provide emotional rewards for blogging, and no rewards for people who do other important work, like making a difference locally. 
I also wonder if we're creating a new elite.

3. Still, and probably more importantly, I think that great teachers share. Dean Shareski, for example, is spot on here. If you haven't taken 20 minutes to watch this, you should. Seriously.

To be clear, I think that the majority of educators reading this post (and those with whom we locally work) have a moral obligation to lift those unable to lift themselves. With David Wiley, I assert that:
we [educators], who live rather privileged lives relative to the vast majority of the planet’s population, have a moral obligation to make our teaching efforts as broadly impactful as possible, reaching out to bless the lives of as many people as we can[.] Especially when participatory technologies make it so inexpensive (almost free) for us to do so[!]
Therefore, although our motives might differ, I'd like to reaffirm my agreement with Scott McLeod when he stated:
Sure, lots of good teaching and learning occurring without technology. That doesn't mean the technology isn't still extremely important. Just because good stuff can and does happen without tech doesn't remove our responsibility to also do tech in large quantities (and at high quality).
4. In fact, I think that if we don't continue to fervently push forward in advocating a technology-rich curriculum, our beloved public school system will likely suffer the same fate as... Blockbuster Video. Take a minute to read this recent Time magazine article. Replace "Blockbuster" with "The Public School System" and see if you get the same chills that were sent down my spine.
"It didn't have to be this way," [David Cook, Blockbuster founder] says. "They let technology eat them up..."

There are few aneurysms in American business. Few companies drop dead. Instead, most endure a long slide into the grave. Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, who has studied technological change and its effect on large companies, says many of the decisions that led Blockbuster to bankruptcy might have appeared rational at the time. "But when faced with a threat by disruptive competitors like Netflix, the circumstances were different," says Christensen. "Decisions that in other circumstances would have made sense, instead drove the company into the ground." Into the ground Blockbuster went. In 2002 it had 8,000 stores and a market value of $3 billion. Today, movie-by-mail Netflix is worth nearly three times that much. And Blockbuster is broke.
5. Does this mean we need need "a complete redesign of the system, from the ground up, using new technologies and new ideas"? I don't think so, although I do think open education philosophies - like those described by Stephen Downes - have a lot to offer and should must be more widely embraced by inhabitants of all education systems, if those systems are to survive.

What do you think? I mean really?

Is public education in the same Blockbuster boat?  Are there better options out there for education's customers? If ignored in traditional education environments, will technology provide students and their paying parents with a better way to obtain the kinds of learning opportunities they crave? Are the bureaucratic wheels that turn current systems of public education flexible yet sturdy enough to enable change? Might that change come quickly enough? Or more importantly, do public schools today provide sufficient educational benefit that can't be obtained through ethernet? Do they succeed at grooming a citizenry, preparing children for college and careers, and building social capital?

What do you think?

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