“If our children are to excel in a fast-changing, global society, we must harness the technology resources they need to function in a digital age. We must remember our commitment to their future as we set priorities and establish policies on their behalf”
-NEA President Dennis Van Roekel
In today’s classroom we are constantly seeing a disconnect between what schools are teaching, how they are teaching those skills and the progressively innovational world around us.
Classrooms built to decrease creativity and increased assembly line like productivity have become obsolete, but are still being used as if the job market stagnated into this structure unchanged.
Although the high stakes testing and small boxy classrooms in which we teach have become a constant reminder of days already past, we are seeing an increased presence of technology within the confines.
Just about every school district out there has produced a catchy motto in order to lure trusting parents into their confines only to fall short of those very skills which were promised. Take a moment to look over your school-district slogan and you will likely find the words technology, future, college and career. But are we holding true to our slogans and mottos that we hold so true to our hearts? The truth is that rapid advancements are eliminating traditional jobs from the market at an escalating pace. Workers who perform routine tasks and who are trained to replicate are becoming obsolete in today’s growing world of technology, and we are not keeping up. Technology is taking over every aspect of our daily lives and is increasingly seen as a necessary prerequisite to obtaining a job.
As educators, we are seeing a growing demand to provide mastery of certain pertinent technology skills. Our students must obtain these skill-sets in order to be successful in the cutting-edge, career oriented world of innovation that technology offers.
If we do not address these basic needs for our students, we are setting them up for future hardships. The top five technology skills to put on a resume go well beyond the critical skill sets that should be taught in school. If a students graduates without a firm foundation on which to build these skills, they are already lagging behind in a fast-paced and competitive job market.
The big question remains: How do I teach these skills AND the growing number of standards that have been placed before me? There is a simple answer for this difficult question… you don’t. The amazing thing about technology is that it works with the standards. If you use technology in your classroom, you are already halfway there. The trick is to use the right kind of technology in the right way, and teaching students how to use it correctly.
Say it with me “technology is not a babysitter, it is a tool to deliver student-centered instruction in order to prepare my students for the future” Whew…good! Now that we got that out of the way, let’s dive into applications.
How does this work?
I start with my standards and apply it to relevant technology skills that my students will need to be career ready. The technology helps to enhance my instruction, but is not THE instruction.
Here is a lesson about flipping my classroom I posted a while back that shows the use of technology in my classroom. See if you can spot some of the lessons in technology intertwined. The technology never replaces the hands-on component or the me, we you structure doted on by champion teachers alike. The technology is seamlessly woven into the fabric of the lesson, but is never the lesson.
In this lesson some of the skills they are learning are:
- Working collaboratively towards a common goal
- Choice of how to present their answer in a digital form
- Using drawing tools
- Using public speaking skills
- Using a touchscreen computer and projection to submit and present their information
- Using a computer to submit and store data for later analysis
- creating textboxes
- inserting images
- viewing and responding to others presentation of skills
Can you think of where/why these skills are necessary for the future job in which they will need to be competent?