Want to know something cool?

One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

New Reports Cite Impact of Technology on School Culture, Curriculum

Two studies released recently indicate that the latest generation of technology-- sometimes called Web 2.0-- has a direct and significant impact on the education process and on students directly. Not that this overgeneralization is surprising, but the details are telling. The reports are the 2006 Horizon Report, undertaken by the Educause Learning Initiative, and a report released by Certiport and the Center for Education, Employment, and Community at Education Development Center, Inc., titled Power Users of Technology.

Not only do these reports detail the exceptionally advanced characteristics of Power Users of Technology, and the impact of Web 2.0 on education, but they go beneath the obvious and look at how and why today's kids think, learn, and behave differently. Great reading, if a bit academically dry.

For example, two-thirds of teachers surveyed say that Power Users of Technology between the ages of 10 and 15 actually change the way those teachers teach. A similar number say that most Power Users tend to be a positive force in and out of the classroom, serving as positive examples and even mentors to their less-technologically-sophisticated peers.

The report on Power Users of Technology refers to the multitasking, analytical, research, and critical thinking skills of kids who are not only "digital natives" (born into a Web-empowered world) but are also pushing and changing the way technology is used. Information consumers are so yesterday, apparently, and interaction with information (wikis, blogs, etc.) is the word of the day.

Because we always need catchy pigeonholes for our students, let's rename these "Power Users of Technology" with something a bit more catchy: Psychobionic, perhaps? These kids seek out information even as they publish information of their own; they find experts to fill knowledge gaps and then reconfigure their newfound information to fill the gaps of others. They're as likely to seek an article from a scholarly publication as they are Wikipedia or Britannica. They're also as likely to debate or probe deeper as they are to accept at face value the information they find.

Kids these days. But seriously, check out the reports. IM, Wikis, RSS, podcasting and blogging and learning are all being seamlessly integrated with each other to create a sub-group of a generation that processes information as fast as they acquire it.

Cool, huh?

How will it shake out? Comment this blog, and let's see where the conversation leads.
For great news, views, and resources for educators, check out The Balance Sheet p
ublished by South-Western, a Thomson company. Trusted news for educators for several decades, several miles ahead.


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