Transformative Technology (from Rowen & Bigum 2012)

Great quote from book “Transformative Approaches” about technology and education reform:

Parker Palmer 1998, p 3: “reform will never be achieved by renewing appropriations, restructuring schools, rewriting curriculum, and revising texts if we continue to demean and dishearten the human resource called the teacher on whom so much depends” (p. 10).

p. 10 Future Proofing, “a commitment to educational agendas which look beyond the boundaries of schools to think about how every single educational moment is working (or not working) to provide diverse kids with the attitudes, dispositions and self belief that will serve them well in a future that no-one is in any real position to describe” (p. 10).

“a disposition or commitment to re-thinking the purposes, content and processes of schooling with a view to ensuring that all children, from all backgrounds are prepared by their educations to cope, engage with and actively shape the futures that could be ahead of them” (p. 10).

Further goal should be not only preparing children, “to be good at doing school, but rather to be good at doing life” (p. 10).

“the impact that past ways of doing things have upon what is done and also what can be imagined is significant” (p. 30).

“An example away from schools illustrates well the longevity of choices and decisions made in the past. Kevin Kelly (2010, p. 179–180) recounts the story of the influence of Roman carts on roads and rail through time. Since the carts followed in the ruts of the war chariots the carts were built to the same specifications. The chariots were built to allow two warhorses to pull them side-by-side. In time, as the English began to use carriages, they too were built to fit the existing ruts which had become roads of similar width. When railways were built, the horseless carriages were also built with the same width of almost 5 ft. labourers from England built the first American railway tracks and because their tools were designed to build the British tracks the end result was that rail tracks in the US also ended up being a little under 5 ft. More recently, the rockets which launch the space shuttle were brought via rail to Florida. They had to pass through a tunnel not much wider than the 5 ft wide track, so their diameter could not be much greater than that same measure. Kelly quotes the conclusion of one wag who commented that: “So, a major design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over 2,000 years ago by the width of two horses’ arse” (pp. 30-31).

We need to stop limiting students futures by limiting their present, what they call “future proofing”.

From:

Rowan, L. & Bigum, C. (Eds.) (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht, Germany: Springer.

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About pgpulley

Social Sciences teacher teaching History of Western Civilization, World Cultures, Media (video production) and dual credit Communications. Currently working on my doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Illinois State University with a focus on educational technology.
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