Saturday, January 3, 2009

Work the Information

In a recent post on David Warlicks Blog, he wrote something that struck a chord with me. He was listing challenges (or obstacles) to implementing various technologies in our schools and in response to the often heard comment, "The kids know more than we do", he said:
"No they don’t. They are more savvy at using technology, but we are better at using information. They know how to play the information. They desperately need us to teach them to work the information."
I've been struggling to put this concept into words the past month or so as I work with kids who are tech savvy but are failing in school. They can find their way around a keyboard and navigate the network but when it comes time to apply their knowledge, they choke and burn.

In my classroom, there is always going to be a kid who knows more about a program or piece of technology than me. I have a few advantages though, when it comes to seeing the bigger picture. I have the experience gained from living through previous technology successes and failures. A wonderful kind of learning occurs when student and teacher both accept the other's strengths and recognize their weaknesses. In that place learning can happen.

In my new semester class that starts next week, I'm going to be asking my students to let me show them how to "Work the Information". I'm also building in some time for them to show me what they think I should know. I'll let you know what happens.

[Image: My own attempt to visualize this idea. Don't like this graph as I think it simplifies what happens. Why is it some work feels like play and vise versa? ]

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