Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The D.Willingham Twist

I'm tiring of Dan Willingham's rhetorical strategy of starting with a bold title like "Why Web 2.0 Will Not be an Integral Part of K-12 Education" and ending with a more reasonable-sounding conclusion like:

There will doubtless be more teachers like Michael Wesch who use Web 2.0 technology with great effectiveness. These teachers enjoy the technology and thus teach from the heart. There will also be teachers like David Cole (blogging in this forum tomorrow) who are not interested in using technology, and who are effective in the methods they use. The wisest course may not be to find “best practices” with the expectation that they will apply across the board, but rather to expect that teachers will select pedagogical practices based on their own strengths and the material they teach, and to support them in that choice.

I suppose whether or not these contradict each other depends on how strictly you want to interpret "integral." But to me if you're going to support teachers in the use of technology, including Web 2.0 technologies, then you're going to, you know, have to make this stuff readily available -- which it isn't in many, many schools in the US.

I think I more or less agree with Willingham, I just think that better, cheaper, more robust hardware and software is the key part of the solution, so that every discussion about technology doesn't have to be framed as a cost-benefit analysis of a high-cost item, so that teachers can have the right technology on hand to use (or not) when it is pedagogically appropriate (or not).

Update... Dan points out that he didn't write the title. Fair enough.

1 comment:

Dan Willingham said...

Hi Tom
Actually, I didn't write the title. Britannica did. Also, I was replying to Steve Hargadon, who said that an accurate characterization might be: “Web 2.0 will be a significant part of the future of learning." That was the basis of the first line of my post so I guess I should have replaced "integral" with "significant."
Dan Willingham