Monday, May 17, 2004

Slashdot | The Flickering Mind

Slashdot | The Flickering Mind
see also comments on this debate at

An interesting thread.

I think the question is not really whether technology informs education, but rather how do we best assure that it does. In the real world, science, math, finance, international relations, and virtually all other disciplines embed technology intrinsically. Sometimes we forget that technology is more than general computing devices (pc’s) on the desktop. It is technology appliances, dedicated systems, assistive devices, scientific apparatus, communications infrastructures – all the range of 21st century tools.

In the real world, these shape the disciplines. Today, simple bookkeeping is not only computer-enabled but computer driven, and technology has changed fundamentally how accounting is done and what its impact on decision making systems really is. It is not so important that students learn a spreadsheet program, for example, as it is crucial that students achieve financial literacy. The spreadsheet program will happen if students are taught financial skills in a relevant and current context.

ICT literate teachers are an important part of the equation, but not the only solution. We need curriculum standards that incorporate knowledge of applications and tools within core subjects, not just within separate technology strands. We need policy decisions and leadership that value not just IT knowledge but an understanding of the contextual application of technology to solve real problems. And we need a unified vision that information and communication are the 21st century cornerstones of democracy – necessary for an individual to be informed and knowledgeable in the global village.

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