After the completion of the MA New Literacies Institute, I spent a good amount of time reflecting of the week of work. I considered the implications of the work we’ve conducted so far in trumpeting the need for authentic and effective use of technology in the classroom. I considered my own responsibilities and the responsibilities of teachers as these technologies are (could be) used in our classrooms. I think one of the last major pieces to consider is the responsibilities of students as they enter technologically infused classrooms.
As a teacher, there are many changes that have to occur in our teaching, learning, and even the ways in which we view our profession. Teachers need to change the way they envision “text” and classroom management, instruction, and assessment techniques. One of the biggest pieces at the core of this involves the power dynamics at play when bringing these new and digital technologies into the classroom. Students also have a huge role to play, and a certain level of responsibility and maturity in the use of these technologies.
Students have an equal responsibility to undertake the discipline, responsibility, and flexibility required to work as an active participant in the ICT infused classroom. Students cannot sit idly by while the teacher is expected to provide instruction, and they are to indicate this learning on an assessment. Likewise, they cannot take this sudden fluidity, flexibility, and lessened discipline in the classroom as a green light to go crazy. Stepping into leadership roles provided for them by changes in power dynamics also means that students have to be mature enough to accept them.
Additionally, students have to reconsider their concept of “school” as they assume an active role in the learning process. In the technologized classroom environment, students are not only guided through online learning activities by the instructor, but in some cases they took a leadership role in the development and application of learning. In many cases, this is not the normal practice of “doing school.” We’re asking students to be leaders, co-construct knowledge and content with peers and the teacher, and in some cases lead the class. These are all helpful, powerful skills they will need as they move out into the real world and the global marketplace. Teachers have to provide these opportunities, and allow students to try (and perhaps fail) at fully utilizing them. Students need to be thoughtful, flexible, sensitive…and mature enough to accept them.