Saturday, February 14, 2009

Technology: Is Higher Education Behind?

Today I was having a discussion with the dean of faculty at my institution about my teaching and learning at AHS. I has a great conversation with her and she shared some of her ideas about teaching and learning in the future. Although, she asked me this one question: “Is Wartburg behind in their use of technology?” I reflected for a moment about what I am doing at Arapahoe High School and with my 9th graders and then looked at what I do at Wartburg, and unfortunately I had to say “Yes.”

As an educator at Arapahoe High School our mission is “to create an engaging teaching-learning environment that values student individuality and encourages students to recognize and achieve their full potential, collaborate in the learning process, become lifelong learners, and participate actively in their local and global societies.” I really feel that the education I provide for my students fits that mission on a daily basis. Here’s where that scares me though – are places of higher education doing the same thing?

Are places of higher education:
…Using a website calendar, schedule, and syllabus?
…Giving a website for each faculty member to update with materials for their classes?
…Using online drop boxes for assignments?
…Having students access their materials from home electronically?
…Using laptops in the classroom effectively?
…Effectively pulling in YouTube and online video streaming sites to enhance the education?
…Allowing and encouraging discussion of the material outside of the classroom?
…Using two wireless networks – one for the login network and one for iPods, PDA’s, other computers?
…Integrating Wikispaces, Blogger, Skype, Cover It Live, Diigo, and a myriad of other online, free, resources to enhance education?
…Allowing students to create their own education instead of being educated?
…Making content truly relevant to students’ lives?
…Making content rigorous to a point that challenges students at a high level?
…Submitting material not only to the teacher, but to the whole world?
…Truly extending education far beyond the walls of the classroom?

…Because they are in high school.

How am I, an educator in the high school environment above, supposed to prepare students for a place and an education that I know does not come close to what they are receiving currently?

So I ask you dean, and other deans and places of higher education across the country, are you ready for this type of education? Because my students are receiving it right now - are yours?