too cool for school?

Mishra and Koehler’s article ‘Too Cool For School? No Way!’ argues for the integration of technology in the classroom, but not simply for technology’s sake. The argument within the article is that as new technologies emerge, they should be considered by teachers to have an educational tilt; iPads, Podcasts, and even Nintendos should, as well as being means of excitement and/or relaxation, be means of education and learning. Mishra and Koehler phrase it “[t]echnologies including standard productive or office software, blogs, wikis, and GPS systems were not designed for teachers, and as such, teachers must repurpose them for use in educational contexts,” underpinning the need for teachers to be able to apply non-teaching technologies within the classroom environment.

The authors use three main online tools that would help students within their class – Twitter (and other microblogging sites); specialised search engines such as Viewzi and Cuil (both of which have since been shut down); and DJ software to teach mathematic concepts. Of course, as the article mentions, these tools must be used in such a way that would add to the students’ education, and not detract from it. Microblogging websites such as Twitter pose the biggest problem to this objective, where, as the article says, they do “not exist in a vacuum,” and “appropriate use has to be scaffolded by specific pedagogical instructions and guidelines.” This applies to all technologies as they arrive: not only should the technology be used, but its safe use should be continually promoted and reiterated within the classroom.

This is an article that I agree with, and cannot say much else that has not already been said by the authors. As new technologies emerge, it is of course necessary to find a use for them in the classroom. These technologies should of course keep their original purposes as places for fun and relaxation, but should also for learning. This is not to detract from their original purposes, but to add to it – to give iPads, Nintendos, GPSs, etc., an increased variety of uses. This in turn helps the students to understand that their games can be repurposed into something that can help them learn, and again in later life, as tools for the workplace.

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