Monday, September 03, 2012

Are You Driving a Race Car or Horse and Buggy?


http://darkartwork.freeoda.com/
I recently watched a TV show about the Amish lifestyle. It was fascinating to see how their lives that leave behind almost all modern conveniences,  can be so fulfilling to those who choose it. They don't drive automobiles (although they will accept rides from others - or hire a car to take them some distance). They enjoy the slow pace of the horse and buggy and simple pleasures from not using modern-day technologies. This works well for them for many reasons, but mostly because the entire community buys in to it. I am not judging their lifestyle; in fact I am in awe of it. I am simply setting the stage for an important analogy.

Watching the show made me think of the English (non-Amish) lifestyle and our use of technology. Imagine everyone in your community enjoys the luxury of automobile transportation, grocery shopping at large chain stores, and regularly using computers and cellphones. Now imagine that one person who left the Amish has now joined your community. This person convinces everyone to adopt some of the Amish practices which require you and your friends to give up many of the conveniences and luxuries you've come to depend on. How long will it take for you to lose touch with the other communities? How long before your ability to learn and communicate becomes severely handicapped? The rest of the world is competing in Nascar-like races, and you're hoping to win in your buggy.

To me, this is analogous to teachers and schools that refuse to move at the technological pace that our students need. Those teachers, schools and districts that refuse to adopt the use of technology in their classrooms are not only slowing down the pace of their students much like using a horse and buggy rather than a car, they are withholding valuable resources that their students NEED to be successful. While the rest of the competing world flies by in their cars and airplanes, they are clopping along in their buggies. Entire schools and districts often delay (or ignore) decisions about the use of innovative practices due to fear - handicapping their students' ability to learn and communicate in tomorrow's today's world.

The infographic below does a good job of illustrating why we can't continue to rely on one teacher in one classroom, with her white board and flat textbooks. Is your school/district forcing you (and your students) to drive horses and buggies, or are they giving you the go-ahead to drive race cars?


Graduating With Technology

13 comments:

Jennifer Wagner said...

I am a fan of both horse and buggies and also race cars -- I feel both have their purpose and their place. Both have necessities and both can be misunderstood.....but for now, that is for another comment, perhaps another post.

My thoughts are REELING from the first sentence of your last paragraph. Not the techie part but the WHY ARE WE RELYING on one teacher.

My elementary mind is spinning with "YEAH -- how come". Why have we decided that it is perfect to plop down our students for 1 year with 1 teacher who has almost total influence and feel that that is productive and the best scenario.

We talk a lot about alternatives for our students -- but maybe the best alternative would be different teachers.

You have given me a lot to think about -- in fact for the last hour or so, your blog post remains in my thoughts.

Thank you --
Lots to think about.
Jen

Jennifer Wagner said...

Sorry-- should have been race horses....not cars.
J

kherbert said...

My entire campus switched to self contained this year. The other techie teachers and I have already noticed something - the other teachers are more willing to reach out and use tech to connect around the school and around the world. They don't feel so crushed for time this year.

We are going to have a bat expert that is going to skype into 3 different grade levels. Several grades are participating in Read around the world.

David said...

I think I'm more of a race car kind of person.

Khushbu Patel said...

My name is Khushbu Patel, and I am a student at the University of South Alabama and taking EDM 310 (http://edm310.blogspot.com/). I will be summarizing these comments on my blog (http://patelkhushbuedm310.blogspot.com/). I found the analogy very interesting. The world is moving so fast, while teachers and the education system are falling behind without the use of technology. If the teacher's job is to help the student be successful and prepare him or her for the future, there is no way this is possible without the teacher integrating technology into the classroom. Who knows how much technology will have advanced by then. Educators should prepare students to stay up to speed with society and its advances.

texas traffic ticket said...

Agree that horse is quite fun for transportation. They enjoyed and they're used to it because it's the only choice they at the moment. Anyway, glad you have appreciated the life they had before.

High School Diploma Online said...

well i rarely leaves comment on any site but your blog is really so amazing that i can't stop myself from making comment on it...

Kayla Moran said...

My name is Kayla Moran and I am in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. Your blog post was very interesting to me. You made many good points about the Amish and how they choose to live their lives. The best point that I saw was about children learning. Children without technology these days really can't learn to their maximum potential. Keeping technology from a child's reach is like keeping 90 percent of what is going on in the world away from them. I respect the Amish and the way that they live but I also feel like there's a point where they should make a few exceptions.

Elizabeth Mims said...

Hello,

My name is Elizabeth Mims and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading this post. I thought your analogy was clever and interesting. I feel like if teachers and schools do not want to make use of the technology out there, then they do not support giving their students the best education possible. Times are changing and the world is advancing. Our schools need to support 21st century teaching because the future depends on it. Our students depend on it. Thank you for the eye-opening post!

Elizabeth Mims

Rachel said...

My name is Rachel and I am a student at Southeastern Louisiana University, studying Early Childhood Education. I could relate to this article because I have also watched the same show about the Amish and wondered what my life would be like if I did not have technology and were unable to communicate with others. At my University, we are expected to incorporate technology into the lessons we teach. I think it is important to integrate technology into the classroom in order to keep students updated with society and to help them in the future. However, I do not think that it is a good thing for people to rely on technology as much as they do.

Rachel said...

My name is Rachel and I am a student at Southeastern Louisiana University, studying Early Childhood Education. I could relate to this article because I have also watched the same show about the Amish and wondered what my life would be like if I did not have technology and were unable to communicate with others. At my University, we are expected to incorporate technology into the lessons we teach. I think it is important to integrate technology into the classroom in order to keep students updated with society and to help them in the future. However, I do not think that it is a good thing for people to rely on technology as much as they do.

Farra Simpson said...

I don't know but there is something about Amish community that fascinates me. Their lifestyle is so simple and they look contented. I remembered before I ask my mom to look for horses for sale because I want us to have a carriage driven by horses. If only it was that simple. But then when I think about, although it seems nice, I still wouldn't trade the technology that I'm experiencing right now.

Mia Middleton said...

Couldn't agree more with you on the part where you mentioned that traditional ways still have a more valuable effect on our life especially in letting our kids learn. I, myself, prefer the method long method than the shortcut one. I don't know, I just think that long methods are way more effective than the stuff we got right now. As for the form of transportation, I'll admit that, I'm currently enjoying the benefits of automobile cause it makes the traveling period faster than the older method. But I think, I could take that as a challenge, I'll try using a more traditional kind of transportation than my usual car. Thanks for sharing such a relevant post, hope to hear more on this from you.