After viewing the video Shift Happens it gave me a real fright about the coming future of technology in our country and our readiness for it. America wants to be known as the technology leader, but it is obvious that we will not hold that title at all in the coming decades. We will be left behind by other countries that have been often thought of as third-world or possible up and coming competitors. This video removes the thought that such countries as China and India will not be behind us, but they will have far surpassed us as technological leaders.
In the academic report by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows how other countries are excelling far ahead of the United States. Of 71 countries whose 15 year old students are tested in reading, math and science literacy every three years the U.S. ranks 38th. (Programme for International Student Assessment, 2016) I reviewed all of the previous videos from 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2012 and found that the U.S. in each video was depicted as further and further behind. What can we do as a country, a nation in order to compete with these types of staggering numbers? Our solution is definitely educating our youth to be worthy to earn the jobs of the future that have not been created or developed yet. But we also want them to be sources for developing and creating these future positions.
Our task as a nation is to get our children “ready to man the technology ship” and train them to be able-bodied members of a forward moving society that can compete in the 21st Century. Our tools will be a strong information literacy skill set. The blueprint from the Information Literacy article is only a small piece of what needs to be done to obtain this goal. Everyone must be involved in the literacy training of our youth. It is not just left up to the classroom teacher, college professor, the parent or any outside source. It is a “whole village” task that must be met in order to prepare our children. Without training students will lack the skills needed to evaluate the information that is thrown in their direction. This is liken to putting them in a boat without a paddle.
Following the CRAAP test for evaluating the information sources will be a vital tool to help them make meaningful decisions. These decisions about the printed text that they must filter though to understand what is really being said will be crucial for developing their cognitive skills. Using technology to help our students understand the information that is littered across the information highway is going to be a major task. I remember when my school was trying to teach students how to filter through propaganda that was written in advertisements and in newspapers; it was a difficult task. Even today, far too many students believe if it’s on the internet it must be true. We must train them to have an epistemic eye when reading and reviewing information from the many media sources. One of the A’s in CRAAP stood for accuracy where you are looking to identify if the information is reliable, truthful, and correct.
My task as an educator is to help each student to develop their metacognitive skills so that they can be productive thinkers who review information deeper than just looking at its face value. Use proper reading analysis skills to dissect any digital data that they come in across. Teaching them good reading skills and developing highly competent technological skills will help them to be more productive as they move in and out of the rapidly changing technology. In R. J. Draper’s (Re) Imaging Content-Area Literacy Instruction (Draper, 2010) he describes the importance of developing metacognitive skills in young readers and the value of training students in its use.
As I reviewed the list from the Common Sense Media it amused me because I have looked at least 90% of the shows listed and loved them all. Several of the more recent shows of the last five years I have not seen only because my interest in television changed as I grew older. But this goes back to the statement made earlier about children being able to analyze what they are viewing and reading. This is a skill that has to be taught and it’s the job of educators to make sure children have that skill. The role of the media has had a profound effect on how children learn since the development of movies and television. Television can be a powerful teacher as reported by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)’s, which recently noted that it can be a positive or negative influence on the young mind. (Canadian Pediatrics Society, May-June 2003) Using today’s storehouse of technology can help them develop the skills necessary for analyzing and preparing their minds for tomorrow.
As I look around at today’s workforce I see technology’s hand in every aspect of our society. From the simplest task to the most skilled. It is not enough that a developing adult can say they’ve seen this technology or that technology; but, can they manipulate it, use it, and stretch its capabilities? All of these aspects are important to say they are knowledgeable and capable of using the tool.
Since I have started this technology journey, I have improved so many of my skills and have developed totally new ones has been astonishing to me. I have touched on digital data and tools that I would have never thought to be of any value to me at this stage of my life. I was drastically wrong and don’t mind admitting my ignorance, because I am doing something about making meaningful changes. I am putting my hands on the technology and dare to learn and use it myself.
Has my philosophy changed? Yes, it has more resolve to learn this than when I began. I am starting so far behind my younger educators, but I am running to catch up as fast as these old legs can carry me. My hope is that I can get other older educators to join in and educate themselves as well. Accept no excuses; you can learn this and get to be ‘silver surfers’ of the new technology.
References Canadian Pediatrics Society. (May-June 2003). Impact of Media Use on Children and Youth. Pediatics & Child Health, 301-06.
Draper, R. J. (2010). (Re) Imagining Content-Area Literacy Instruction. New York: Teachers College Press.
Programme for International Student Assessment. (2016). PISA Annual report. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical-Share Alike 3.0 IGO.
Nona M. Batiste is a forty-year experienced public school teacher who has taught in both New Orleans Public Schools and Dallas Independent School District. She holds a B.S. in Education from Southern University of Baton Rouge, LA and a Master of Science Teaching (MST) from Loyola University of New Orleans, LA. Ms. Batiste has taught Environmental Science and General Science to middle school and high school students. She has been active in both school districts as a master teacher and workshop presenter.