Monday, June 11, 2012

Respectful and Ethical Minds

As Julene Reed stated, our students are engulfed in a global communication world. They are constantly using digital media and a variety of technology tools to collaborate and share things with each other. Many of my students use email daily, Skype with family members in other areas, and blog on their own.  In today’s world, collaboration amongst peers and staff is a must. Professionals no longer work alone, but instead, with each other in efforts to make the outcome even better. Ideas, emotions, and actual pieces are shared amongst people who are all striving towards a common goal.

Our students are the same way. They thrive by learning in a collaborative fashion and perform better in a digital project-based way (Reed.)  The statement that impacted me the most, and the one that I applied to teaching, is the fact that we’re preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist today; therefore, it’s impossible to teach them everything they will need to know. We can’t answer them if they ask what their job will look like, or how they will do it. All we can do is help them learn to problem solve, think on their own, collaborate with others, and use media and technology to their advantage. 

Reed’s article reminded me of the video, "Did You Know," that we show each year as part of technology curriculum. We share this video with our students and then have a class discussion. I share that we as their teachers, strive to teach them things that will help them in their futures because we want to see them succeed. Most importantly, I remind them that they all have the ability to make this happen if they put forth the effort, and how this process needs to begin now, if it hasn't already.  They were amazed by the statistics shown in the video and seemed to be very motivated to continue into their futures. Many of them also seemed a little scared.

Modeling a variety of digital media tools in the classroom allows students to be both respectful and ethical. Students need to see the tools being used in the classroom to help learn the content, and then they need to be willing and able to “play” with the tool to enhance their learning. This will usually include some type of collaboration, and he or she will model their understanding through various projects, blogs, videos, etc. I believe students need a positive role model in the classroom who not only has a positive view on technology, but also infuses his or her lessons with various aspects of digital media. 

Overall, technology is not the "cure all." Yes, it will certainly help students reach their potential  respectful and ethical minds, but technology itself is not the key.  Collaborative technology and project-based group work is what will drive their learning and create well-rounded, respectful, and ethical students for the future!

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