Fast Company -December : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company / December- Jill Herzig

Upon reading this magazine and its contents, I have chosen to respond to it as a whole. As educators, where is technology taking us in the twenty-first century and what are the advantages and disadvantages to this new way of thinking and learning? Students are much different learners today than when we were children. They seem to have more advantages with evolving technology. We need to ask ourselves; are we moving too quickly as a society and are the children benefiting form this new wave of technology? I believe after reflecting on this the answer is yes. They are benefiting in a variety of ways. They are able to grasp the concepts of technology and its workings by immersion. They are constantly exposed to computers and use them in there everyday lives. Most students communicate with E-mail and the Internet. They are in contact with their friends and making new ones in this digital age. They shop and browse in places around the world that we as youngsters couldn't have dreamed of experiencing. The advantages to learning online are numerous. Students have a great tool to use as a research medium. They can move non-linearly through cyberspace and can uncover information from primary sources that lend credibility to their research. The teachers change their roles in the classroom in that they are no longer teachers per say, but take on the role of facilitator. Students learn a life-long skill to use outside of their education and are able to acquire current knowledge that is constantly accessible on the web. They can take ownership of their education by gearing their learning to what interests them and by doing this it stays enjoyable. So what are the drawbacks to this new world. As an educator, I see the problem of social skills being a future detriment to technology. Children learn how to chat and meet people virtually, but they do not meet "real" people. The students do not have the opportunity to actually learn how to interact when they are face to face. Some students can spend hours chatting, but can not communicate in a social setting. This cocooning worries me. As a society we must build safeguards to help our children not become so focused on the net that they lose track of the real world. To be an effective teacher in this new environment, we need to adjust our teaching styles. We must continue our education so we may educate our youth and be open to the idea of change in our profession. Most importantly, we must remember that they are still children in need of guidance, and we must still help mold them to become the future leaders of our world by navigating through this new cyber world with them.

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2000

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