Live From #SXSWedu: Teachers Need To Embrace Technology

This post was originally published on Tech & Learning and on The Navigator by CompassLearning on March 6, 2014.
By: CompassLearning student correspondents
When we first got to SXSWedu, we headed straight for the Google lounge to check out all the different Chromebook devices. The Google lounge is super colorful with Chromebooks on display everywhere. There was a station for coffee and tea along with a variety of free snacks.  We met one of the head guys at Google lounge, who told us his opinion on which Chromebook he thinks is the best for classroom use.
After the Google lounge, we attended a session on the “digital divide” in education today by the speaker Rob Mancabelli. Mancabelli talked about the divide between technology in the classrooms in the 20th century and 21st century. We spend $150B dollars trying to fill the digital divide, but we really need to be teaching the teachers how to be a 21st century teacher. Are teachers’ jobs at risk if they’re not 21st century teachers? Teachers who don’t have 21st century teaching skills are “swimming instructors who have never been taught to swim,” according to Mancabelli. We overall need to close the digital divide and begin teaching students with 21st century techniques.
In our experiences, we believe that teachers do need to be taught how to teach with more 21st century techniques. Many teachers refuse to use new technology in their teachings, and that can affect how the students are actually learning. A lot of students like to learn with technology because they’ve grown up surrounded by technology their whole lives, and they’re more comfortable with it. Teachers shouldn’t be afraid to use more technology because it’s for the benefit of their students. Teachers often think their students will overpower them with their knowledge of technology, and they probably don’t want to want to feel like their students are smarter than them. Teachers who feel like that should realize that their students will actually appreciate their attempt to try to use more technology and will be more motivated to learn.

Brianna and Joaquin are juniors at Del Valle High School in the Del Valle Independent School District. They are attending and reporting on SXSWedu as Compass Learning’s student correspondents.

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Stephanie Bruno

Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Joanne O'Brien

While teachers should be able to use technology effectively in the classroom, that doesn't mean using technology is the essence of teaching. A teacher with passion and a deep understanding of his/her subject matter is a far better teacher of content than one who relies primarily on the bells and whistles of technology. I find many students have a hard time differentiating between verifiable and reliable content online and unreliable "infotainment."
Real learning is an active and sometimes arduous endeavor. Many of our students lack the perseverance to think deeply, and are not willing to challenge culturally embedded beliefs, or extract themselves from their digital distractions. Now, I love Khan Academy, MOOCs and TED Talks, they're great for acquiring some prior knowledge BEFORE walking into a classroom with a challenging and engaged teacher or professor.

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