Technology In The Classroom
With the back-to-school season now upon us, parents, students and teachers everywhere are once again struggling with the perpetual challenge of making kids job-ready in a high-speed and fast-changing environment. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that information technology in the classroom plays a central role in all areas of life but sadly, access to this technology and the subsequent reaping of its benefits often stays out of reach, either due to lack of funding, lack of familiarity, or outright resistance.
In a recent USA Today special feature, in which CloudTweaks played a central role, Dr. Steve Paine, President of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), pointed out that “sixty-five percent of today’s students will have a job that has not been invented yet.”
In the same feature, Vint Cerf, one of the “fathers” of the Internet, and Grammy-winning musician John Legend, both attested to the power of interactive and customized learning, as a university professor and a former underprivileged student respectively.
CloudTweaks writer Adam Hausman provided a case for the effectiveness of the cloud as a secure and central repository for all of the essential files and documents that go into effective learning.
The resistance to the implementation of interactive technologies in the public school system stems from a collection of substantive adult fears that revolve primarily around control. Many teachers are not comfortable with technology and see it as a distraction from their existing lesson plan rather than a central component of it. Although they would like fulfill their calling to teach young minds, they do not feel comfortable with the sophistication and the high rate of change that modern technology delivers. Parents also are concerned about the lack of control that occurs when young children are “let loose ” on the internet. Concerns about access to pornography, scam sites, or simply ideas beyond their level of familial comfort cause parents and their related organizations to impose pressure on teachers to limit access to online material. To many, the various technologies of the online world represent a vast unknown, one which didn’t exist when they were growing up, and therefore seems unnecessary.
But the fact remains that students today not only need to be prepared for both traditional jobs and the jobs of tomorrow, they also need to be given a chance to learn, regardless of socio-economic situation or personal learning style. The USA Today article points out this is not just a nice-to-have idea. The quality of education in the U.S. is declining while other countries are aggressively taking advantage of the comparative low cost and the huge potential of online learning, giving their students a keen advantage in the global Workplace.
As always, CloudTweaks played a central role in the co-ordination and content development of this special USA Today supplement. Our team of experts and writers constantly help our clients to stay abreast of the changes and benefits of interactive technology and cloud solutions, to help ensure that anyone who needs to learn about technology, including established professionals, can obtain what they need to know in real time, and in a way that makes sense. In November 2013 we will be teaming up with Fortune Magazine/Time Inc to create a special supplement that discusses the outlook for the cloud in 2014, including stories on security, commerce and innovation.
By Steve Prentice
Steve Prentice is a project manager, writer, speaker and expert on productivity in the workplace, specifically the juncture where people and technology intersect. He is a senior writer for CloudTweaks.