In many job sectors, employees are expected to keep up with relevant technologies or risk job loss. When do we require that of K-12 and postsecondary educators? At what point do we say to them “No, we’re not training you how to use this. It’s easy enough for you to learn on your own. And if you don’t, we’ll find someone else who can.”
When will we, as educational systems, redefine the job descriptions and expectations of educators to include their regular and effective incorporation of relevant digital technologies?
Who defines your acceptable level? Who decides that it isn't enough? Who has actually made sure that more technology is actually USEFUL in the classroom setting? Will it be Techno-geek boy or an actual teacher in a school like Packemin High School? To accept a definition like this from someone who has such an obvious axe to grind is like calling on the Oil Companies to write an energy bill for Congress. (Oh, wait ...)
A commenter says "The obvious next question is: If we are successful in changing job descriptions to include integrating 21st tools and resources, how do we fairly assess teacher performance?"
to which I respond:
The students need to know what they are doing - that's called knowledge of subject. Those 21st century skills are mostly Glitzenbullshit, a tool that kids can pick up at any time. People like this commenter are changing the subject out of ignorance.
As Peter Berger (Poor Elijah's Almanac) says,
The high-powered Partnership for 21st Century Skills still preaches this same doctrine, euphemistically arguing that we need to "emphasize deep understanding rather than shallow knowledge."
Unfortunately, without deep knowledge, the best you can have is a shallow understanding. Without any knowledge, meaning facts, any understanding you think you have is illusory, baseless, and void.
You can't attain understanding without knowledge, and you can't acquire knowledge without mastering facts. You can't skip the grunt work, even if it's often dull and painstaking. That's true in any discipline. Our children need to realize and accept this. So do the experts who mastermind our schools. So do we all. That's the new angle on teaching and learning that we desperately need. More gimmicks won’t help.
True, grappling with facts and turning them into knowledge can be hard work.
But reckoning with ignorance is even harder.