Throughout the late winter and spring, students in hundreds of schools have been monitoring the migration of Monarch butterflies from their winter home in Mexico to the southern United States and then northward across the continent. As Monarchs arrive in each community, excited students spread the news so that students in other schools can maintain classroom maps charting the insects’ progress. Using the internet, the complex network of telephone lines linking millions of computers all over the world, the students send their reports instantly to all schools in the project. (Ron Brandt, 1994).
Modern educators express their approval on the Monarch Project as an example of the kind of education we value students working together to gather and organize data from the real world about a fascinating scientific phenomenon.
Like the project Monarch, teaching profession is trying to reach a consensus about what productive teaching and learning looks like. Presentations come from different sources, including the work of certain people who are trying to bring innovations for the development of teaching-learning process. The conceptions of good instruction are related to a broader set of practices that constitute quality education. It includes outcome-based planning, site-based decision making, collaborative action research and parent participation.
Critics do not buy this ambitious agenda, not because they disagree with all of it, but because they know that most schools do not have the necessary means to achieve it. Why keep talking about one high flown innovation after another, when we have failed so often to put similar ideas into practice?
That is the social and political context within which we consider the role of technology in reshaping education. Educators and public see that new electronic tools are radically changing the way people access and use information, and that these developments have profound implications for the educational process. On the other hand, we are stuck with organizational patterns and professional traditions that are nearly to change when a skeptical public resist innovation.
I learned from experience how technology can enrich education. With the help of abundant technology, schools can provide the kind of instruction we value and the students can achieve the outcomes we declare for them.
But can schools afford to take advantage of this opportunity? That lies on the wherewithal of the schools to achieve it. #