During the past few months, I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about Information and Media Literacy — I believe that this is one of the most concrete reasons to implement a laptop or 1 to 1 program in a school. To be responsible citizens in the 21st Century, students need to be ethical, life-long learners. To do so, they need to be information and media literate. The need to be fluent in digital and print.
David Warlick was visiting a laptop school and hit the nail on the head in this post :
Bottom line? 1:1 does not provide all the answers. In fact, it provokes lots of new questions, which is the approach of the school’s chief administrator, Stuart McCathie. He believes in, promotes quite eloquently, and offers lots of examples for, facilitating more powerful learning by asking a different kind of question. What occurred to me, as he was talking, was that most of our questions ask for answers. McCathie is suggesting questions that ask for conversations. Engaged in conversation, students become responsible to a community for what they find and learn. Answering a question is merely between the student and the teacher.
I am ever more impressed by the almost overwhelming challenges of working in a 1:1 teaching/learning environment. It requires so many shifts, most of them subtle, but no less difficult for a teacher — even young teachers. Even a first year teacher has 12+ years of experience in traditional classrooms. The challenges are enormous — but we simply have no choice!
I left even more convinced that contemporary literacy can be a potent
angle to make these shifts from, that it isn’t about the new tools on
students desks, but the new access to information and the new abilities
to produce information. The answer, I believe, can be as simple as The Beacon School’s
approach of simply saying, “At this point, no student work will be
turned in on paper. Everything will be done digitally.” It’s a focus on
the nature of the information, not the shape of the pencil.
He’s right — we have no choice — and we need to focus on contemporary literacy. And what better way to teach our students to be 21st Century Learners than to model this type of learning ourselves in a 1 to 1 program. Cheers to David for putting this so well.
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