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Workshop Task

Transforming Technology Mindsets
The School District of Lee County

How do your students use technology in their daily lives? In 2001, Marc Prensky coined the term “Digital Natives” to describe students today. According to him, these students are “the first generation to grow up with this technology.” He goes on to say that because they have grown up with the internet, computers, video games, cell phones, and more, they see these technologies as integral to their lives. Since 2001, countless researchers have written about the characteristics that define this digital generation.

In his book, “Grown Up Digital,” Don Tapscott cites eight key characteristics of the digital generation: “They prize freedom and freedom of choice. They want to customize things, make them their own. They’re natural collaborators, who enjoy a conversation, not a lecture. They’ll scrutinize you and your organization. They insist on integrity. They want to have fun, even at work and at school. Speed is normal. Innovation is part of life.” How can we best meet the needs of these students in the classroom today?

For those of us who didn't grow up ‘digital,' the world of technology can be exciting, but also challenging! While our students may pick up a new cell phone and intuitively know how it works, others of us spend a few days getting used to the new formats and functions. When it comes to the classroom, the first applications of technology can mirror non-digital strategies or lessons we know and love. However, the transformative power of any technology lies in the new possibilities it brings!

Imagine your students working collaboratively to synthesize information into a Google slides presentation, contributing ideas at different times, from different locations or even different classrooms! Imagine your students deciding to take an online quiz when they feel they are ready, getting immediate feedback, and setting goals based upon that feedback. Imagine them creating a piece of writing that hyperlinks to supporting ideas in related websites, video, and more. Each of these capabilities will be easily available through Google Apps for Education.

As educators in Lee County, you are leading the way with a pivotal 1:1 Chromebook initiative. As you seek to incorporate the capabilities of this powerful tool within your classrooms, you will grapple with some key questions:

How do I learn best to use the wide range of tools available through Chromebooks?

How can I infuse technology into my classroom in ways that are transformative - that allow us to accomplish things we never could have accomplished without the technology?

Your task in the coming weeks is to explore these questions within your own classroom environment. You will gain skills and insights that you will bring to your colleagues in your role as Technology Leaders for your school.  You are leading the way in the process of transforming Lee County Schools!