Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Then A Miracle Occurs

I was reading an interview with Lucy Sanders from NCWIT Sidney Harris cartoon - a miracle occurs hereearlier today and this famous cartoon came to mind. Specifically Lucy said:

“Some people think that girls’ and women’s ownership and use of these [mobile] devices will automatically lead to their increased interest in computing education options. That has not proven to be true.”

She’s right of course. We see/hear/read a lot of talk about miracle devices in education. “Just give a student and Internet connected device and they’ll teach themselves everything they need to know.” Or “I just need a classroom set of iPads and my students’ creating will grow by leaps and bounds.” Bah! I seldom works that way in real life.

Sure we can read about trials in far away places and be amazed about third world self teaching. Is that reality of American students? Most American students have access to all sorts of computers, mobile devices and Internet connections. The miracle is not happening.  While there are exceptions to most things most students need teachers. The miracle device does not exist.

In the case of the mobile devices students have today students (and adults) see themselves limited to the apps that are available to them though app stores. They do not see themselves as creators of those apps. Why not? I think mostly because they don’t know that they could create apps. The tools are available to them. All they need is a little encouragement and some teaching to help them get started. There is a lot of creativity out there that is untapped because students don’t know that creating apps is within their reach.

To quote the above article once again:

One major issue, she says, is lack of encouragement for young girls and women to go into careers in technology and computer science – jobs that Sanders believes women are very well suited for as they are flexible, creative and can be found in pretty much any industry or company. “Everybody can encourage a young girl to go into computing.”

BTW I read Anthony Salsito’s daily edventures blog regularly for good interviews with people involved in education. Like the one with Lucy.Print

1 comment:

Garth said...

I love the "they will teach themselves" philosophy. It is a job security thing. As long as people (especially school administrators) follow this idea I will have a job cleaning up the mess. And usually there are a whole bunch of new toys no one knows how to use. Cool.

On the women in tech discussion - we need to get more people in the technology fields at the middle and high school level. The number of women should go up with the overall numbers.