The Mountain and the Muhammed

30 October 2009

I am an interloper. A lifelong content person who often resisted being labeled as "techie," but has come to find herself in just such a position. What I am finding, however, is that while being a transplant provides opportunity for me to see connections between different groups, it doesn't mean that others do.

For example, Washington, like a lot of other states, is hot on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) trail. STEM is the buzzword du jour among all sorts of stakeholders at the state level. Interestingly enough, educational technology is not included with any of the conversations. I guess they're not considered part of the big T. I think this is a mistake, but I'm not sure which group is the mountain and which is Muhammed in this situation. After all, I haven't seen content areas invited to many of the EdTech conversations.

How does this sort of stalemate end? How do we move from cliques to expertise to integrated conversations about classroom instruction?

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3 Comments:

Blogger John Spencer said...

So true!

Do you think any of this is the result of a factory model / enlightenment driven education? In other words, when we divided up the content and the subdivided each group, it seems that we lost the connections.

For all the talk of 21st century learning (and after awhile, the claims seem to get a bit grandiose) I wonder if we are missing out on the connections, the overlaps and the whole student. If some techie wants to tell a social studies teacher how to teach, let's let the social studies teacher share insights about globalization, social changes within technology and how media influences the perception of truth.

Maybe even that is a bit too terretorial. Perhaps it's in the universals that we should begin the conversations that will lead to a dialogue on the details.

9:00 PM  
Blogger The Science Goddess said...

I think you may be right that the factory model may hold some of the blame. But I also think that EdTech is new to the game---it wants to be taken seriously at the outset of things (or without proving themselves) and other areas just see it as some sort of geeky flash in the pan.

Not sure what it will take to build understanding on both sides.

7:54 PM  
Blogger John Spencer said...

Being a bit of a Luddite in the Ed Tech arena, I have my own concerns about Ed Tech. First, there are some of them that get way too focused on programs and miss the big picture. Sometimes more tools isn't what teachers need (the whole "paradox of choice" concept). Second, some are still stuck on teaching computer skills. Finally, a lot of them have technocratic dreams of a "new pedagogy for the 21st century."

After awhile, it starts to feel like the song "Rocket Man" or a game at the Astrodome. It's vaguely futuristic and idealistic, but almost progressive for the sake of being progressive.

What if there is wisdom we lost that we need to regain from before the factory model?

7:58 PM  

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