Educators Have A Duty to Prepare Students for “Digital Age”?
Lemke caused quite a stir when she asked a room full of educators
if they are committing malpractice.
The CEO of Metiri Group, a learning technology consulting firm,
Lemke has more than 20 years experience in public education. In
the year 2000 she was identified as one of the 20 most influential
educators nationally in the field of learning and technology.
Her lecture titled “Technology-Based Solutions that Work,” was
part of the conference “Making Technology Work in Our Schools.”
Lemke cited a study that showed when teachers use visualization
in the classroom to solve real world problems, four times more
students gain understanding “in a deep way.”
we know what students need and we are not getting it to them is
that the equivalent of malpractice in the medical world?”
After the silence several audience members spoke up. The consensus
was the system, administrators and teacher education programs
are also to blame for the misuse and lack of use of technology,
not only educators. But Lemke got people to pay attention.
your students ready to thrive in a knowledge based society?” she
asked. The unspoken answer was that many students are not prepared
for the digital age.
Lemke pointed to the WISE web site (www.immex.ucla.edu), a product
of the University of California at Berkeley, as a way for educators
to start using technology for learning. Students can use the site
as a guide for scientific research. One example she showed the
audience was the web-based project about how deformed frogs grow
that way. Students navigate through the site as they complete
their research with the help of online guidance and clues.
The WISE site qualifies as authentic intellec
tual work, Lemke says. “These projects are relevant beyond the
school day, they foster disciplined inquiry and require students
to do something with the knowledge they gain.” Teachers can use
the web site with their classes free of charge. WISE only asks
that educators notify them in advance.
Another example of project-based learning on the site utilizes
a battleship game to teach students about slopes on a graph.
Visual literacy and self-directed learning are two important skills
that students gain when they work on web-based projects. Lemke
showed a simple visual map that students created, linking the
causes and effects of bad breath. (Some effects are the loss of
friends and visits to the dentist, according to students who developed
the map.) Lemke also showed a more advanced project on www.pbs.kids.org
that teaches girls about the reality behind the myth of modeling.
One little known fact: models use Preparation H to get rid of
bags under their eyes.
What actions can educators take to encourage problem solving and
research based learning? First, get the digital age on your school’s
radar screen, Lemke says. Next identify things that work and make
decisions based on students’ learning needs. Finally, redefine
success to include information literacy and self-directed learning.
Lemke suggests that educators read professional journals so that
when they are asking for things in their school it is research
must be high expectations for schools and pressure on schools
to change,” Lemke says. “It’s a matter of being a squeaky wheel.”
conference was coordinated by Carolyn Everett, Director of Special
Projects at CUNY Central. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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