This report examined the different facets of technology that are likely to have a big impact on K-12 education over the next 5 years. I thought it was extremely interesting and helpful to read this report, because it is obvious how much classrooms are already changing as a result of technology, and the change is bound to continue at an increasing rate. As the report mentions several times, the world in which our students are living is changing, so our approach to educating them needs to change as well. Technology provides so many different ways to do that, especially in that it makes things more open and accessible, and gives more opportunities for student choice and freedom. As a future middle school teacher, I hope that I keep my classroom open to all the possibilities provided by technology; I want my students to be able to learn in the best ways possible.
I definitely agree with all the trends discussed in this report. One that I have recently seen an example of is the trend that “as the cost of technology drops and school districts revise and open up their access policies, it is becoming more common for students to bring their own mobile devices.” The report mentions BYOD programs, or Bring Your Own Device, in which students are encouraged to bring their own device to school. The middle school that I am doing my teaching practicum at – Oconee County Middle School – just became a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) school this year. Students are allowed to have their phones, laptops, and other devices with them while at school. The use of the devices is still restricted to certain times, but many students bring different kinds of technologies with them to school every day, especially cell phones. This is completely different from when I was in grade school. I also strongly agree with the trend that “social media is changing the way people interact, presents ideas and information, and communicate.” I see evidence of this everyday in my observations of and conversations with family, friends, students, or educators. Social media is changing the way our world functions.
The challenges listed in the report are certainly evident, and they are problems that I am sure educators will be dealing with for awhile to come. I hope that these challenges are recognized on a more general level, and addressed by both schools and educators. Most of the challenges that the report discussed either had to do with teacher access to tools/skills or teacher willingness and openness to more non-traditional forms of schooling. I think the access to tools and resources will be a bigger challenge for me than having an open mind about how to educate. I would love to work in a school district in which professional development is highly valued so that I can always be learning about new technologies and about how to effectively implement them into my classroom. The report also mentions how there remains a gap between the vision and the actual tools for things such as differentiated instruction. I hope that I am able to find the resources and skills needed to fill that gap and provide my students with what they need.