Reading Assignment 8

This assignment is a collection of a few short articles on social media linked below. In a way, this serves as kind of a wrap-up for the semester. We’ve been talking all along about how teaching and learning in the 21st century must change and is changing. As Richardson (3rd link) points out, the current generation of students (and likely all future generations) are growing up in a new, highly connected world and the full ramifications of this have yet to be seen. Will schools continue to be more or less what they have always been or will they be forced to change and adapt? Things like Colorado’s new standards (which put a lot more emphasis on 21st century skills and inquiry) and SB191 (which is redefining what constitutes an effective teacher) suggest we may see real changes in education for what, in reality, might be the first time. As the next generation of teachers, you have the opportunity, or maybe the onus, to facilitate this change.

The articles here all dance around the idea of the connected classroom, connected student, and the connected teacher. How this is accomplished is really up to you. No one has yet found the right formula and it’s likely there isn’t one. Use this as an opportunity to start to define how all this will play out in your classrooms. This is particularly important as in all likelihood you will enter schools that are behind the curve. They may have limited resources. They may still ban technology in various ways creating unnecessary distance between students and teachers (Poudre is still fairly anti-everything). Your fellow teachers may be fairly tech illiterate, anti-technology, or simply holding on to outdated modalities any of which can make it difficult to be the teacher you want to be or make your school the school it should be. You might think all this will change as the old generation retires. Hopefully, but there are still schools of education turning out new teachers who were cast in the same mold as those about to retire. I have no idea where all this is heading, but I really don’t foresee any big shakeup. Instead, it will be a slow, gradual process that may end up taking decades to be fully realized.

The Will Richardson article is just a brief interview around his book Why School. You might want to read that at some point but not necessary for this class. There are also a couple other books worth checking out. They are linked below. The Shallows makes the case that how we access information in the digital age is fundamentally changing how we think. If so, think about how that is not changing, as it may be for us, but actually creating differences in the current and future generations. The Difference Engine is an odd book. As such, it’s hard to recommend as a good read, but he does make an interesting case. I’m actually going to post a couple chapters from this book for an optional reading assignment which you can participate in for extra credit or just for fun (right?).

Read the articles below and post your comments here by 11/17.

Additional Resources (optional but interesting)

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains – you can read part of this on Google Books.

The Difference Engine: Computing, Knowledge, and the Transformation of Learning