Irony in the computer lab
December 2nd, 2008 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I am currently sitting in a computer lab in one of our district schools having a demonstration of a school data management system, PowerSchool.  (We are considering a migration from our current system.) The presenter is doing a real time demonstration of the system online, and all of the teachers, secretaries, IT dept members, and administrators are sitting at the computer stations.  

People are frantically taking copious notes on paper – they’ve pushed their keyboards out of the way and are scribing their information.  Only two of us are taking notes on the computer.  I recognize that some situations work better on paper – drawing figures, computing math, and the likes, but this (now) is different.  This is text-based knowledge acquisition.

How can we encourage 21st-century learning skills in our students, integrated with information technology, when so many of us are still entrenched in practices that do not reflect best practice use of technology?  It’s hard to teach effective use, when we don’t necessarily know how to do it well ourselves.

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