Seminal question: OBE and Strategic Planning Models and the possible applications of technology.
Today, more than ever, students are using technology for several things. From before learning in schools even begins, children are playing associative games on iPads, and are developing accounts on social media sites at radically young ages. How can instructors possibly use these new technologies to the learner’s advantage moving forward; in particular, how can we apply these technologies strategically using Spady’s theory of Outcome Based Education? The technology isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s becoming more and more prevalent in the lives of both the teacher’s and the students. It may be completely possible for us to integrate these technologies into being able to more effectively evaluate each individual student’s level of achievement, and can do so in a way that is more expeditious for the teacher.
The need of each student and a preferred future can be better recognized through applications, and, in addition, social media may make it easier for the teacher to communicate with the parents of each student, and may further aid in what the next goal or course of action should be for that student.
Programs have already been developed since the inception of these new technologies to help students who live in the standardized testing atmosphere where individual goals are not set, and it’s easy to look through the applications available for iPads and Android operated devices and find several different ways of being able to access each student’s capabilities, which in turn makes it easier for the teacher of an OBE system to strategically plan goals for that student based on the results.
Of course, it also should be duly noted the student’s ability to navigate through new technology. Just as Math is important to some, and Language Studies are to others, some students are more or less tech-savvy, and more stepwise goals should be set for these students in order to attain the basic understanding of what they will probably need to know moving forward in any profession.
My straightforward conclusion is this: It is necessary for any teacher, whether working under Spady’s principle of OBE as set forth in the book Beyond Counterfeit Reforms, Forging and Authentic Future for all Learners, or working under a more standardized, more protocolled pedagogy, to consider and implement technology into our systems. Particularly in in an OBE setting, if the goal is for every learner to have an authentic future, as the book title itself suggests, these technologies and applications must be a part of that learning process for each student, as each one is capable based on their individual skill level.
In “Total Learning Communities,” technologies that we have looked at are absolutely necessary. In these communities, everyone is supposed to be involved, from the classroom setting, after-school care, and parenting, to the way neighborhoods function to ensure a quality learning environment. We all lead busy lives, it’s the way of the twenty-first century. We don’t have the time to spend with our children with achieving educational goals as we used to. We are working second jobs, living in two-parent environments where both parents are working, and more frequently than ever before, we are single-parent families.
With the use of social media to communicate and engage with students, it’s our chance as educators to make these social media outlets more than the simple waste of time that than they are now. In the “primary” learning community (which Spady refuses to call a school), laptops and iPads are being issued to students at higher rates than ever. The cause is noble, but it is our responsibility as a whole community to make sure they are being used as part of the learning process. This could easily be achieved by introducing locking programs into the student’s media that doesn’t allow them to use the technology for games or auspicious music video’s, or catching up on buzzfeed until their educational goals for s set period of time (day, week, month) have been met.
Traditional schools can do the same in some ways, though it’s far more difficult for these schools to ascertain what each student’s goals actually are. In cases like this, a “lock until goals are met” feature might not be fair to a student, say, if if one student in that “grade” is “smarter” than the other, they’ll be able to spend more leisure time on the computer than the less “intelligent” student. Realistically speaking though. It seems difficult to implement this specific technology, and at times, parts of these total learning communities create cracks, i.e. what if the parent, neighborhood leaders, or even the teachers choose not to care about this system, this learning community. That’s why such systems have failed in countries like Australia, and many states of the U.S.