Partnering with students is our best bet for a meaningful integration of technology in education!

Ghinwa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger:  Ghinwa Itani Malas

Technological revolution is a fact, it’s been around long enough for a whole generation to embrace it as an integral part of who they are, how they choose to use it and how to express themselves through it. We are mistaken if we think that we should, or even can, control it because it is simply beyond anyone’s control.  The technology isn’t going to disappear.  So how we choose to deal with it is really up to us.

As educators, educational leaders and parents we have to admit that no matter how tech savvy we are, we will always be the digital immigrants who are adapting with different degrees of difficulty (and resistance!) to this technological age. We have a decision to make. We can either view technology as this monster that we need to fight because we can’t control it or we are afraid it will shake the way we are used to doing things or we don’t understand how to use it or it can be misused by children, OR we can be realistic, proactive and humbly admit that the train has long left the tracks and if we want any chance to be on it, we need help from the digital natives, who almost innately know how to use technology in its various forms. It’s time for us to review our role, the students’ role and the whole educational framework that we are interacting within.

It’s true that many children use technology for chatting, social media, or playing games, and perhaps too few of them use it to do research or share school projects. The fact is that adults (parents, teachers, administrators, policy makers) have limited the use of technology to extracurricular activities for free time by keeping it out of school and university programs.  The first interactive whiteboard was brought to Lebanon in 2007 and those are more common now, but there are still only a handful of schools in Lebanon allowing students to use computers and mobile devices for regular school work.  Children know they can do much more with technology, but they are rarely given the opportunity to do so.  Our role therefore is to create new learning opportunities for all our students (from preschool and up) to use technology for purposeful and meaningful learning.

We need to review the educational programs and curricula keeping in mind that students’ voice should be heard. We need their input and their ideas of what makes sense to them. This won’t be easy to do because of our own fears of losing control of children, but it is the only way!

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