We school leaders know that some of our students are tech savvy and we know that many of our students are without access and opportunity for adequate technology experience. We also know that the adult world our students will enter will be full of technology. Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, the authors of, That Used To Be Us, 2011 p. 54 make the point: “The convergence of globalization and technology will eventually touch everyone. These forces are far larger than any individual. They are ferocious, impersonal, and inescapable.”
The role of schools cannot be denied. As we intentionally create learning environments and expectations for today and tomorrow’s students, technology must be thoroughly integrated into our learning environments. Technology can support efforts to engage students in critical thinking, research, collaboration, thinking interdependently, problem analysis, problem/solution efforts, and much, much more.
Many of our students can see the need for more technology to be integrated into school learning. As reported in the Tech Journal “Technology skills are essential to a successful future, according to students surveyed in the second annual 21st-Century Classroom Report, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 high school students, faculty and IT staff. Ninety-four percent of students said learning and mastering technology skills will improve their educational and career opportunities, and 97 percent of faculty agreed.
Despite those results, just 39 percent of students say their high schools are meeting their technology expectations. Additionally, 86 percent of students note that they use more technology outside the classroom than inside.”
It is pretty clear that the convergence of globalization and technology will eventually touch everyone. The term “everyone” is referring to everyone around the globe. American schools have to get good at both ‘letting go of the past’ (minimal technology) and ’embracing the future’ (investing in learning opportunities that match the current and future learning challenges). Our children and their futures are worth it.