I’m going to have to show this to some kids. Including you all.
Among the digerati at my school, we increasingly think about the divide between digital immigrants (those who learned technology as it was introduced, but grew up before the real digital explosion of the late 1980s), and the digital natives (those who grew up after that explosion, and knew computers and the Internet to be part of the structure of their world). Our school’s administration — and faculty, me included — is entirely dominated by the immigrants, but it’s trying to educate natives.
There’s an increasing disconnect between our plans for technology use and the ‘normal’ way our kids use them. Not giving computers to our staff is actually hobbling our teaching style, because our students have access to more technology, and more expensive technology, than we have. And yet we want to have a physics program, and a young-engineers program, and a strong science curriculum and a strong mathematics curriculum.
Hence podcasts, for me in history. Hence lego projects in physics that illustrate mechanical forces. Hence smart boards in some classrooms. Yet … and this is a big yet… all of these things are merely skins on old-style software — the teaching methodologies haven’t yet changed. Technology trumps culture — once you have chariots invading Egypt, it’s no longer possible to build pyramids, because you need a strong noble class with access to manpower and land rights to build a countering force. If you have technology that runs circles around your caste of educators, you need a different cultural model. I think it’s going to be the big struggle in schools for the next … oh, thousand years. The old will be new again, and I think that’s important.