We are currently working on creating a document for our school division on our “Educational Technology” portion of the education plan. As I have looked at different documents, including this one from Alberta Education, I have been struggling with the generic phrases that have been used. Here is the statement on the outcomes for “digital and technological fluency” from Alberta Education:
Alberta students competently use information and communication technologies as tools in a variety of digital environments and media. Students access information from a variety of sources to learn individually or with others, to communicate, to come to new understandings, to inform problem solving, and support decision making. They are aware of current and emerging information and communication technologies and choose with confidence the appropriate technology for a defined purpose. Students can access, understand and manipulate digital information creatively and effectively for learning, for communication and for sharing and creation. They use technology critically and safely, and in an ethically responsible manner.
I think this is a great goal but I am wondering if you put 20 people in a room and asked them how they would do this, would you receive 20 different answers?
From that viewpoint, I then saw the ‘Technology Integration Matrix’ from the Arizona K-12 Center. This gave different goals, broke them down into steps, and then also provided exemplars in each area. When you provide examples like this, do we often kill the creativity of our teachers and students by giving them a preconceived notion of what good teaching and learning looks like? In this article on creativity, the author notes that our prior knowledge can sometimes inhibit our own opportunities for innovation:
“Perhaps the most important entry on Michalko’s list is his last point, that “creativity is paradoxical.” Schools are places where students are supposed to acquire knowledge—but to create, a person must “forget the knowledge.” If you’re not able to leave what you think you know behind, you can’t approach problems with a fresh perspective. Students must also be taught to “desire success but embrace failure,” and to “listen to experts but know how to disregard them.” Liz Dwyer
So where is the balance? How do we ensure that all of our students get the same opportunities no matter what school they attend, while also ensuring that our teachers have the autonomy to be innovative in their teaching practices? If you were to create a plan to support teachers and provide a vision for a preferred future, how would you go about it? Your thoughts would be appreciated.