Infrastructure

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

By Kevin Bushweller — June 14, 2010 2 min read
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.

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
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD
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
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education
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 Achievement Webinar
The Fall K-3 Classroom: What the data imply about composition, challenges and opportunities
The data tracking learning loss among the nation’s schoolchildren confirms that things are bad and getting worse. The data also tells another story — one with serious implications for the hoped for learning recovery initiatives
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

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

Infrastructure Q&A How to Expand Home Internet Connectivity for K-12 Students Over the Long Haul
One Florida district is mapping its region and prioritizing communities with the greatest economic needs for home internet access.
6 min read
This "heat map" generated by GIS technology uses progressively darker colors to illustrate the areas of Palm Beach County with the highest concentrations of families who lack home internet access.
This "heat map" generated by GIS technology uses progressively darker colors to illustrate the areas of Palm Beach County with the highest concentrations of families who lack home internet access.
Courtesy of Donna Goldstein
Infrastructure The Big Pandemic Tech Challenge: Reliable, High-Quality Internet Experiences for All
Simply providing a student with a device and internet connection at home isn’t enough to ensure high-quality online learning.
12 min read
A team of people build a path across the digital divide.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty
Infrastructure Half of Districts Lack Connectivity Needed for Widespread Videoconferencing, Device Usage
Two-thirds of America's public school students attend schools that may not provide enough bandwidth for life after COVID-19.
3 min read
.
iStock/Getty
Infrastructure Internet Access Is a Civil Rights Issue
In the world’s wealthiest country, why is broadband access denied to so many and in such high numbers? Mark Lieberman investigates.
7 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law