A colleague at Beloit College recently shared this impressive video:
The idea that technology will revolutionize education is an old myth that keeps getting new life with new tech. It’s an age old truth that education is a social experience that’s been affirmed in my seminary Ethics classes, where I learned the primordial nature of relationship and how it precedes the development of self… (See, I can wax philosophical in a heartbeat!)
There was lively discussion of this debate–whether or not technology will revolutionize education–in the notes on the video’s YouTube page, on our edu-ISIS listserv, where another colleague, from Gettysburg College, shared his experience learning to play guitar:
When I took up guitar I taught myself via a variety of tutorial sites such as JustinGuitar, and I was able to go from complete novice to reasonable amateur. But I don’t go to them much anymore- instead I’m working with a human teacher because I’ve hit the limit of what I can learn that way. The interplay between him and I during a lesson is not going to be able to be replicated by software anytime soon- he can tell when I’m relaxed, when I’m tense or frustrated, when I’m trying to avoid doing something the hard (but correct) way and so on. I don’t expect a computer to be able to read me like that in my lifetime
Which was the perfect opening for me to mention SAMR, a model for teachers, instructional techs and IDs to evaluate how they’re incorporating technology into instructional practice. (Click the image to watch a Common Sense Media intro video.)
- Substitution, such as a word processor being used instead of a typewriter.
- Augmentation, such as the word processor’s spell-check feature or automatically formatted citations.
- Modification, such as emailing electronic files instead of turning in printed papers.
- Redefinition, such as posting writing assignments to the web for students at a partner institution in another country to critique, or having students submit their papers with an audio recording of their thoughts on why they composed it the way they did, or contributing suggestions to a crowd-sourced website to solve a community problem, or etc. You get the picture.
What I like about this model is that it describes innovation in education by focusing on tasks rather than tools, and educational tasks are commonly included in syllabuses, also known as assignments. They’re teachers’ bread & butter.
It’s truly about the education, which is a social enterprise, best practiced in community, as it always has been. Technology is simply tools that can be used to support it.