New technology is a no-brainer for the classroom
"We did fine without the technology"; "we need more research before claiming new technology improves school attainment". The proof that we must move rather than just research first, do later, comes streaming in. The BBC report on research by Ofcom showing 16-24 year olds in the UK spend at least 3 hours on the net, and more than half own a console and/or MP3 player. There is a great rundown of UK homes' habits (and the official lengthy report) as families move into broadband, internet telephony, social networking and online video viewing, spurred, presumably, by the young people living there.
The arguments that new technologies are just a fad, a cherry on the cake, an added extra, a bolt-on, a treat, something we can pass by, nothing that a good PowerPoint can't supercede, nothing that a textbook hasn't achieved until now, nothing that our best exam factory schools can't do without... all of this is is just keich. The teachers touting this must wake up to the fact that they are not engaging their kids unless they do use these technologies, the ones the kids use. Moreover, they're not really preparing them how to cope with the information being passed over to them unless they teach how to manipulate and analyse that information with these tools.
The research only covers those aged 16-24, but with the Web's 15th birthday party just over, those aged 16 and under have known nothing but the web. Those aged 5 and heading into primary school will be our first read-write generation this year.
Alarm bells should be ringing in any Local Authority or country not designing strategies to get these technologies commonplace into their classrooms. And that includes this lot, too.