My big concern in starting to write a Blog was if I could post with consistency and frequency. I feared that I would run out of things to say, or I wouldn’t be able to produce posts quickly enough to hold an audience. I have discovered that Twitter, and all that becomes associated with it, keeps that from happening. I often recollect the only memorable line from Godfather III. ”Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” , Thanks Al Pacino.
I had such a moment this week as I observed a live-streamed meeting in a land far away. I added to the backchannel stream with Twitter as I watched the action (I felt very techie). Backchanneling is tweeting comments about the meeting as it is in progress. Often the Twitterstream is projected on a screen in the room for all to see. The topic was Tech in ed . I was stopped in my tracks by one committee member, identified as a Professor, who asked a question about the research supporting the use of Tech in Education. Honestly, I don’t even remember the exact words, because to me the exact words did not really matter. I was already too busy screen-screaming at my computer.
This is not 1975. Technology is here. Technology is a tool to retrieve and transmit information. Information is what we need for learning. We retrieve information. We analyze information. We interpret information. We restructure information. We exchange information with others. We respond to information from others. We create with information. We even create original information.(notice small direct sentences and easy, understandable vocabulary)
With all of that clearly and simply stated, an educator should be asking a different question. What does the research tell me about the best tool to use with my lesson? Research should help determine the best way to use technology in relation to information needed. We may find that, for a specific lesson, the pencil technology serves us best. For other lessons word processing technology is needed. As educators we should know the difference and how we want to use the tools.I am keeping the examples simple for the purpose of common experiences. Some web 2.0 applications have no meaning to some educators, so they would not serve as good examples. That is telling in itself.
It is my opinion that a question from any educator in 2010 about research in technology and learning is only code for something else. To me it says” I am happy with what I am doing and you can’t make me do it any differently, because science is not on your side!” That is my view, so do not run to the comment box, since that is my perception which makes it my reality. It does not have to be yours.
Unfortunately, over my long career I have seen research cause trends which are the rage for a while, but then fade away. It has conditioned educators not to pay so much attention to whatever is happening now, because next year it may be gone. Educators should now be aware however, that technology is not such an educational fad. It no longer needs justification with research. It is here to stay and it is moving forward. It is the educational system that is becoming stagnant.
I believe in research in Education. Research in learning and how we learn is valuable. The tools that we use are also important, but they are not the end all in learning. Think of technology as informational delivery systems. Information In! Information Out! If one tool is better than another for a teacher to accomplish the goal, then select the best tool.
If all Educators believed in research as well, especially those who ask about tech and learning research, we might be looking at a different education system. Bloom’s Taxonomy would direct us to creative learning instead of lecturing facts. So, educators, be careful of what you wish, for it may yet require you to change. There is so much research that is ignored by educators in their day-to-day teaching , that it seems somewhat hypocritical to call upon research to fend off the use of technology.
The next time you are in a meeting which is discussing Technology and Education, be wary of those who ask if research supports the use of technology in Education. That person may be asking a question, but stating something completely different. That was my take-away from that educational meeting in a land far away that I attended and participated in and learned. That would not have been done without the tools of technology. Come to think of it the tools of technology have you here with me now. Does the research matter to you?