Friday, April 20, 2007

My Comment on Indiana & SLA

Adding on to Steve's post...

What's interesting to me about Indiana is how it is different than, say SLA. I mean, SLA is an example of what you can do when you start from scratch with great leadership, fresh, inspired teachers, students who want to be at the school, an excellent facility, etc., AND technology.

Indiana is an example of what can happen when you get the technology and the particulars of the funding and deployment strategies right, even if you have not preceeded that deployment with a systemic progressive reform of the school, comprehensive tech support and expensive professional development, etc.

That is, if and only if you get the technology and economics right, then it can become "not about the technology" and learning can become the focus.

We have gotten to the point where the conventional wisdom among educational technologists is that there is nothing about computers that tends to drive school reform, but that, in effect, school reform is necessary to support computer use. This is, I think, backwards, and the direct result of a series of technological choices which made sense at the time (hey, in 1996, I would have bought Windows too), but have been crippling in the longer run.

Indiana is an example of an alternative.


Chris Lehmann said...

I don't think it's an either/or. I think it's an and/both.

Andrew Pass said...

Tom, I read your comment over at David Warlick's blog about pushing the extremes even further. I disagree with your point but was intrigued to check out your blog. I just wanted to introduce myself and hope that we continue the conversation. My oint is that if the real focus is to be learning then we have to remember that everybody learns in different ways at different levels. I guess for some teachers it would be good to push them even further into Web 2.0 or let them lead us into Web 2.0. For others, we've got to take fifty steps back and help them understand the power of email. (Eventually, hopefully we won't have to step so far back because like SLA schools won't have to hire teachers who have never taken the time to learn basic technological literacy.)