Perusing the newspapers this morning (one of the many perks of being a librarian) I came across two interesting articles about technology in the classroom in the Globe and Mail.
The first one had to do with how the iPad is a useful device for people on the Autism Spectrum: Technology Opens Up New Worlds for Children with Autism.
Although not that relevant in our context, one point struck a cord.
The article mentions how an interactive whiteboard and an iPad were key to the acquisition of language for autistic students who do not speak. The 14 year old boy they give as an example was able to figure it out easily. The technology revealed to his educators and parents how much he actually knew and was learning. I was thinking about the students in our school with various learning disabilities and how it could have the same effect.
Right above the article on autism and technology, was one talking about Digital literacy in the classroom: Using Technology in the Classroom Requires Experience and Guidance, Report Finds.
I know. Duh, right? But the report makes some interesting points. The first one is that it is not younger teachers on the whole who are choosing to integrate technology in the classroom but the older teachers.
They also find that students are not able to separate the wheat through the chaff when it comes to information they find online:
In the report, a Grade 5 teacher from the North describes how a group of “A-level students” came across online images that purported to depict a Sasquatch penis bone. They wanted to know if it would be appropriate to include in their science fair exhibit.
I know. Duh again. I see this problem everyday. In fact, that is why I am here- to teach them how to sift efficiently. But the solution to this problem pleasantly surprised me:
In order to teach students how to be better digital citizens, the teachers surveyed said the training wheels have to come off the Internet: The filters schools use to block unverified websites prevent students from learning how to exercise good judgment.
They go on to describe how filters are giving the students a skewed view of what is on the internet- that they need to have access to the chaff in order to know how to throw it away. As for blocks, teachers report not having access to youtube, and other social media is getting in the way of showing the students how to use these new tools in a positive way.
All this to say that yay! We are on the right track!
Oh and also a shameless plug for how indispensable librarians are.
I know. Shameless.