It is not hard to catch the concerns in my Twitter feed regarding the lack of technology and social media use by teachers and in classrooms.  There are often many points and issues to consider and I don’t claim to know and understand all of them.  The statements on blog posts and in comments reveal the diversity, if not polarization, of positions and thoughts in this area.

Consider these posts by Scott McLeod (@mcleod), for example, and the comments generated:

What are educator’s professional obligations to learn from social media channels?

Holding Back Our Children

And this report on social media’s role in education.

Also, I found the chart that Keith Rispin (@Keithrispin) provided at the end of this post very helpful, although he admits it may be somewhat simplistic.

The more I read the more I am often confused about what to support.  As a parent, I could choose not to worry about this, especially since parents are often looked upon as the barrier for change in this area.  Andrew Campbell (@acampbell99), a teacher and parent, posed a good question in a tweet recently, “If parents were demanding #edtech would that speed change?”  I don’t believe so.  I think it would have to be a collective response and collaboration of stakeholders to really affect speed of change (in education standards :)).  I could be wrong though certainly.

I may be “old-fashioned”, but I continue to look for reassurance around these points and questions:

  • Is the technology use or device developmentally appropriate for children/students?  E.g. Do young children really need the tools that connect globally? Would we introduce needless anxiety through exposure to situations or issues beyond their homes and community which they are not ready for and don’t need to be ready for?
  • How does the use of the technology/device or social media enhance a learning experience or opportunities compared to not using it? How are the outcomes different?
  • Arguments need to convince me that it is good for learning, not just because it makes teaching easier or more interesting (which could be addressed other ways), or that it “motivates” students.
  • As children/students experience and access more technology, what will they not experience?  And how will we know that it is okay?  Who will take responsibility if we miss something essential?

As I read the concerns about both parent and teacher resistance to technology and social media use in schools/classrooms, I wonder if it is really understood what assurances are needed.  Are the assurances that will build confidence and support similar or different for “resistant” parents and teachers?  Are parents and teachers comfortable enough to share these thoughts?

I invite any thoughts:  Is there an “it” or a “why” that you need to hear to better embrace and support the use of technology and social media in classrooms and/or for professional/personal learning?  Thank you for reading my thoughts.