Sunday, November 29, 2009

The role of computers in education.

You would think that for someone who works in educational technology I would have a firm grasp of where technology sits in schools in Australia.... Not really. Part of the problem is things change really fast in the outside world. When I was at school the internet was not accessible (it was there though), computers were found in one place - the lab, and the only time I got to use them was for doing some basic accounting applications.

20 years later and things have changed so much outside but still stayed the same in the classroom.

Recently on echalk the denizens were discussing the role of the computer teacher and whether they will eventually be phased out. It really depends on your view but here's how I think it will go (re posted on echalk).

We have a continuum with traditional subjects.

With abstract knowledge/understanding based subjects (such as Maths and English Lit) at one end and Product/Process based subjects (English and Industrial workshop) at the other, with other subjects spaced out in between. The question here is where does computing fit in... Comp Sci down one end, Robotics at the other and game making in the middle perhaps?

Actually the more I think about it English as a subject fits computing in schools much better than the old Pen analogy.
English is used in just about every subject to a certain degree to read, process and output data, we are now moving to a point where computers are used in every subject (one hopes) to a certain degree either to read, process or output data.

English Lit=Comp Sci English=AIT English+subject=Computers+subject.

"computer" teachers will teach the first two much like English teachers share the English/ English Lit classes. Much like the support staff for literacy and numeracy there will be integrators for subjects other than computing to help teachers use the technology effectively.

Sorry this post is a bit of a ramble and I think it needs to be a bit more focused - I'll work on it.

1 comment:

Polina Krin said...

Dear Hall Jackson, don’t you worry about a thing! Your concern an fast-moving path of life is totally understandable. I am also astonished by how much can be done on a computer now, yet the students sometimes fail to use it to its direct purpose – knowledge. I face these problems all the time. On one hand, everyone has a computer now; on the other hand, most of the modern students use it just for fun or communication. The thing that they don’t understand is that can be and really helpers for every needs of an enquiring mind. Just to think, today we can apply to essay writing service online in a second and help with a school assignment. So, good luck with getting students to use the devices for knowledge.