Day one of my blog coincides with day two of my return to school (again!?) to take my Masters in International Education and Development at Sussex. So in addition to feeling overwhelmed with **how** to write a blog, I’m also being inundated with ideas of **what** to write about.
I just came from meeting with one of my professors, Ricardo Sabates, about what areas of interest I have for writing my dissertation. This is supposed to help with the coordination of our tutors for our assignments and our final project. I don’t want to pigeon hole myself into one area yet, but I think it’s safe to say that the use of technology in education is a major area of interest for me.
I know – technology? and development? Aren’t there more pressing issues we should be concerned about in the developing world than technology? Things that might be more realistic, like being able to pay teachers, or afford paper and pencils? Actually, this attitude has kept me away from thinking about technology in development for a long time, but when you start to think about it in terms of access to information and the skills that are being required by today’s job market – as well as the benefits that technology can bring if used effectively as a tool in an educational environment, it has so much potential.
I at the very least want to understand the digital divide and the different ways technology is impacting societies around the world. Thinking critically about how it is already used formally and informally: Are we using it effectively? What impact is it really making? Are we becoming overly reliant and losing skills (for example mental math or memory capabilities – when it’s just easier to Wikipedia it)? How is technology helpful and a hindrance? Is it really worth all the money spent and how do we really know?
I read this amazing article in the New York Times from about a month ago. It really asks some uncomfortable questions for those who love technology: Grading the digital classroom: In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores. It made me stop and think about all our assumptions about how fabulous technology is without really having any proof.
I could go on and on, but that’s it for now.
Just the beginning – but already thinking about what is coming next and where I want to be going with this project and what I want out of this year. For all the teachers out there: backwards design – begin with the end in mind! And it’s only Day Two!