in the Digital Age
is the Right Time?
No Child Left Behind
Have Touched the Future, I Teach"
Frank B. Withrow:
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What is the Right Time?
Frank B. Withrow, PhD
We have an administration that has been non supportive of learning technologies, a budget that is seriously skewed against educational innovations and a general attitude that research indicates technology is a failure, not cost effective or at least neutral. In addition, the federal budget is very tight. Conventional wisdom is that this is not a time to seek broad new technology programs.
Unfortunately, we cannot wait for more favorable times. The survival of our nation is in danger in the competitive world of modern digital resources. We must be wise enough to take advantage of the realities of our modern society. We have a society that has embraced digital technologies from large screen TVs to amazing cell phones and other levels of consumer-based electronics. In fact, these digital technologies are changing the nature of the way society stores and retrieves knowledge, experience, and wisdom. A kid in a remote rural area of Utah can access digital French lessons from Rome. The Library of Congress’s Digital International Library project envisions information available in multiple languages worldwide. Video games engage and challenge young people. Avatars enable learners to experiences real life engagements and conversations with people in different times and environments.
For year we have talked about learning being available 24/7 365 days a year. It is time we either stop talking or push for a walk that supports our talk. We need to immediately confront the distorted research that is coming out and seek a real study that justifies our position. Educational research is weak at best and fallacious in its worst interpretation. In the 1960s audio-visual research proved that black and white pictures and films were just as good as if not better than color pictures for learning and education. Therefore, it was a waste of money to have colored pictures in textbooks and films. There was one problem with this research the technology moved so fast that colored print and colored films were the standard of the society. The advertisement pictures of a “COKE” on the back of the Saturday Evening Post looked colder and more inviting than the actual COKE. Colored films became the standard for entertainment and color television became a reality. Our intuitive judgments are often better than so called sophisticated scientific research.
All content software can have built in assessment components that measure their actual effectiveness in use. Technology in and of itself will not reform education. The restructuring of schools and learning experiences are the central component of real reform. We remain prisoners of time tied down with a school model for the 19th century.
This is the right time to ask for real uses of technology in the learning and teaching processes. The resources are in the homes and personal resources of learners. We must be wise enough to learn how to effectively use these resources.
The time is now to see comprehensive and effective uses of technology for every learner we cannot wait for a more favorable time.
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