Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards.Billy Bragg, "To Have and To Have Not"
We keep pushing new technologies, harder than we push for full bellies and safe homes for our children.
An hour or two bouncing around various social sites shows where our priorities lie. We're more likely to survey our students to learn what "devices" they have at home than to learn what they have eaten the past 24 hours.
It's not a fair dichotomy, true, but I bet a "Luddite" teacher who knows the home situation of each and every one of her students gets better results than a Google Certified Teacher, everything else being equal.
And yes, of course, we can have both, and often do--but you wouldn't know it from the electronic conversations. Of the two, though, only one is necessary.
The original Luddites were skilled craftsfolk who objected to the industrialization of what once was a decent way of life. They used tools themselves. They fought their impending loss of autonomy. And now the term "Luddite" carries with it derision.
I can do things with a blackboard I simply cannot do with a SMART Board. The SMART Board can do plenty of things a blackboard cannot. I am not convinced we gained more than we lost, at least for science classes, where drawing matters, especially for a left-handed teacher who loves to use dotted fields. (Our computers cannot handle a staccato of dots, though it is amusing to see the dots fill in a field like stars filling a dusk sky--and about as fast.)
But this is not about whether the SMART Boards should replace blackboards--this is about how we decide which technologies to use. No one asked me if I wanted a SMART Board, and just bringing up a discussion like this brings out deep feelings among the pro-tech crowd.
Read the history of Luddites. Learn why they did what they did.
We're in the process of spending billions of dollars on testing and test prep as our House of Representatives works to cut $16 billion from our Federal food assistance programs.
Here's an idea--ask teachers to fast for a day for every new tool they use in class that costs more than, say, $200. Oh, wait, that would be ridiculous!
We'll ask a few kids to fast instead.
Socrates taught well with a stick and some sand.
And I bet he didn't use UbD, either....