IT Infrastructure

Technology Tools Prompt an ‘About-Face’ in K-12

By Kevin Bushweller — June 14, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print
BRIC ARCHIVE

One of the aspects of covering educational technology that I really enjoy is something I call the “about-face.”

A new technology emerges and begins to gather steam—say, for instance, social-networking tools. Then students experiment with the tools well before most adults, and, invariably, many get reckless in how they use them.

Schools, in turn, react by imposing restrictions or even prohibitions on the use of the new tools, fearful they will cause serious problems. It’s an understandable reaction, but often a judgment made a little too quickly.

Then, the about-face occurs.

Educators grow curious about why students are so enamored with the new tools, teachers begin to see and use them for learning, and schools make moves to relax the restrictions they once imposed.

The cover story in this issue highlights the most recent about-face in the world of K-12 educational technology: the use of social-networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Ning for classroom lessons, school-parent communication, and professional development. It is a startling shift in direction for many schools.

In her cover story (“Social Networking Goes to School,” this issue), Senior Writer Michelle R. Davis points out that just two years ago, social networking meant little more to teachers and administrators than the headache of determining whether to punish students for innappropriate activities highlighted on Facebook or MySpace. Now, teachers and students have a vast array of social-networking sites and tools—from Ning to VoiceThread and Second Life—to draw on for such serious uses as student collaboration on classroom projects and professional development.

Still, Michelle points out that even though educators and students are pushing learning beyond the borders of the classroom through social networking, many schools still block access to such sites within their walls, and issues around privacy and Internet security remain.

It will be interesting to follow future developments in this area as schools try to balance the benefits and drawbacks of opening their doors to social networking. On a related note, the use of mobile computing devices in schools has been undergoing a similar about-face, which we chronicled in depth in Technology Counts 2010, Education Week’s annual report on the state of educational technology. Mobile devices such as smartphones and iPods, still seen as nuisances or contraband by many schools, are now viewed by an increasing number of teachers and administrators as cost-effective tools to build and sustain 1-to-1 computing programs.

For this issue, we take a look at how school administrators are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile devices to do their jobs, a trend that mirrors what is happening elsewhere in the professional world. (“K-12 Mobile Leaders,” this issue.)

It is fascinating to watch teachers and administrators embrace technologies they once resisted. It’s an about-face worth noting.

A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Digital Directions as Technology Tools Prompt An ‘About-Face’ in K-12


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Infrastructure School District Data Systems Are Messed Up. A New Coalition Wants to Help
Organizations representing states and school districts have teamed up with ISTE to help make data systems more user-friendly and secure.
3 min read
Conceptual collage of arrows, icon figures, and locks
Sean Gladwell/Moment/Getty
IT Infrastructure More Families Have Internet Access. So Why Hasn't the Digital Divide Begun to Close?
A new study says low-income families’ access to the internet has soared in the past six years. But there are other barriers to connectivity.
3 min read
Glowing neon Loading icon isolated on brick wall background. Progress bar icon.
Mingirov/iStock/Getty Images Plus
IT Infrastructure Remote and Hybrid Learning Are Declining. But the 'Homework Gap' Will Still Be a Problem
Schools are returning to in-person instruction, but students' connections to the internet at home remain spotty.
2 min read
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advance placement World History Teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays a wifi hot spot that are being handed out to students in Dallas on April 9, 2020. Dallas I.S.D. is handing out the devices along with wifi hotspots to students in need so that they can connect online for their continued education amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an Advanced Placement World History Teacher at W.W. Samuell High School in Dallas, displays one of the Wi-Fi hotspots that were given to district students during the pandemic.
Tony Gutierrez/AP
IT Infrastructure 'Big Burden' for Schools Trying to Give Kids Internet Access
A year into the pandemic, millions of students remain without internet because of financial hurdles and logistical difficulties.
5 min read
Veronica Esquivel, 10, finishes her homework after her virtual school hours while her brother Isias Esquivel sits in front of the computer, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, at their residence in Chicago's predominantly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood.
Veronica Esquivel, 10, finishes her homework after her virtual school hours while her brother Isias Esquivel sits in front of the computer, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, at their residence in Chicago's predominantly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood.
Shafkat Anowar/AP