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Last tended: March 30th, 2023
In The Beginning
It wasn’t that long ago that “computer class” in K-12 meant practicing touch typing or learning the Microsoft Office Suite. Technology Education֎ has made strides since that was the case, but it has also developed some problems…
What does it mean for a student to study technology in K-12 today?
Greedy Glitzy Gimmicks
Appearances. That is a school’s first priority when it comes to Technology Education. A simple facade is easy to setup and can do a lot of the heavy-lifting in terms of public regard. If handled properly, this is a non-issue. When mishandled however, it leads to things such as:
- thoughtless technology adoption
I think TechEd has a bit of a complex. It suffered from lagging behind for so long that, in order to correct course, it’s swung the pendulum in the other direction. And that attitude is exactly the kind mainstream Tech & Educational Technology֎ business vultures prefer.
- wasted money
Bloated, poorly-allocated budgets. A school is much more than just its technology (& sports!) offerings. A healthy school is one where the spending is holistic. Technology companies DO NOT need more money. Teachers need more money! Student, facility & community well-being need more money!
- flashy-focused superficial learning
I believe: To learn is to struggle. Technology, in particular, is vast, varied and constantly advancing. Not only should students learn its fundamentals, but they should also be taught how to adapt, continuously. None of the other subjects in K-12 deal with as much change. Ideally, the curriculum space for novelty should exist as a compliment to the essentials, NOT at the expense of them. Sadly, your “value as an educator” (i.e. to your employer) will most likely be judged via pageantry. If you can sell “innovation”, no one will care whether anything of value is actually taking place.
Both on, and by, the schools. Another reason schools like appearing modern with their tech offerings is because it can create a supplemental illusion that the rest of the institution is also modernized. That assumption doesn’t cost a dime. Meanwhile, EdTech businesses are just ecstatic to develop and, more importantly, market digital “solutions” for problems the educational system “couldn’t possibly” exist without. ¯\(ツ)/¯ As long as the parents are happy; and they are, probably cause they’re too naive to know any better, too busy to dig deeper or they’re just actually pretty vain themselves.
There is irony to be found in the way schools worship appearing “techy” vs how Tech, the subject, is typically treated in the overall K-12 curriculum. It is entirely possible for a kindergartener today, to go all the way through to high school graduation, and never take a single Tech course. And I’m not just talking about the schools that don’t have any sort of Technology offerings whatsoever (a considerable amount though they may be֎). Technology Education is traditionally viewed as optional– elective-priority, not a core-subject.
I wholeheartedly believe TechEd contains sufficient foundational knowledge, essential enough to better understanding, and navigating, modern life, so as to warrant it being mandatory.
“Woooaah, Nelly! Let’s not go rocking the educational system too much, yeah? That idea could mean significant restructuring, alotta work, ya know? Besides don’t they suffer enough screen-time as it is? How much do they really gotta know about them computers anyway? Hey, cheer up. Here, why don’t you take these Facebook VR headsets and go take pictures of the kiddos mastering the metaverse?”
This traditional method of isolating TechEd also serves as a kind-of “reprieve” to the other subjects in K-12. When the school offers it, the pestering of those other subjects to incorporate technology drops drastically. But how much could those subjects genuinely improve with a pragmatic review of tech offerings? Could the way things are taught be enhanced? Could new approaches or strategies for learning those subjects be cultivated? At the very least, would increasing its usage not better prepare students for life after high school?
A Better Tomorrow
What do I believe a stronger Technology Education for K-12 students would look like today?
Well… unfortunately, I think that’s a topic for another post.
I’ll be sure to link to it here when it’s up.
Thank you for reading.
This blog post is my final, incredibly tardy, submission for Bring Back Blogging֎. A project attempting to encourage individuals to both write and exercise ownership over their content. This 3rd entry was uh, due in January 😅.