I went to a quick lunchtime workshop this week where teachers were introduced to the many features of a Smartboard.  Mostly I went so that they would let me use a Smartboard in my classroom, but it certainly wasn’t the first time I’d seen one.  I couldn’t help but grin while the others were owhing and awhing over this “new” technology they were going to have in their classrooms.  The first Smartboard I played with was in 1999 while I was student worker at UC.  Design students were using it to present their portfolios to reps at different companies, and it was paired with videoconferencing.  It made me wonder again what exactly the relationship between technology and public schools in the US is.

This is the second week of evomlit, and as always, I’m having a bit of a time keeping up, and keep sinking a little further into my patano of technology, where I get stuck playing with new tools and never get around to commenting on them.  I’ve been using iGoogle for a while now, and sometime in late 2008 finally figured out that Twitter was a useful tool.  Last week I started using Diigo.  Thinking about the technological lens, I find it more challenging every day to try to filter out what technologies might work with my students, what my school will actually allow (before I get too excited about using something that I actually cannot), and equally more frustrating to try to understand what a “21st century” skill really is. In From Blogs to Bombs, Mark P. makes a point that I live every day as a high school language teacher:

“Effectively, our whole culture has moved into perpetual beta, where changes happen so quickly, and are contributed to by so many diverse people and groups, that everything becomes provisional. There’s real potential here for doing things a new way. But there are also lots of people, from parents to politicians and despots to democrats, who find their worldviews unsettled.”

I find it unsettling that my students’ worldview is upset as well.  I believe that they need to know how to use the tools that make up such a large part of their lives in a way that benefits their education.  I understand why so many things are filtered out on our computers, but then how do I teach my students to sort through what’s good and bad?  What’s real or not?

I had more written here the first time around, then managed to erase everything!  I do want to spend some time going through Mark Pegrum’s wiki this week, http://e-language.wikispaces.com/.