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ERIC Number: EJ859274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-1052-8938
Technology as a Fence and a Bridge
Wehrli, Bryan
Horace, v25 n1 Sum 2009
Cell phones, laptops, the Internet and social networking sites make teachers anxious and magnify the gap between teacher and student. The influx of devices creates a clamor, but little clarity for schools. When the author began investigating the issue, he discovered a heated debate and a spectrum of views. Then a colleague sent him Clayton Christensen's "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns." The term "disruptive" immediately resonated because he believes teaching, classrooms, and schools desperately need disruption. Although they need to balance their enthusiasm with skepticism, any potential for meaningful change warrants consideration. A set of recent developments increases the possibility of a real disruption: (1) the technology-immersed character of "digital natives," known as the NetGen; (2) a bottom-up push for technology's place in schools; (3) the interactive and participatory possibilities of Web 2.0; and (4) an increasing acceptance of the notion of social knowledge construction (as embodied in wikis). Transformative disruption is much more likely to occur in Essential schools and other schools that nurture learning communities. The response of teachers to new technologies, whether they reach out with a hammer or a curious mind, can be influenced by schools culture and professional community. When a school is conceived as a community of learners in which curiosity is nurtured and where teachers are encouraged to collaborate, take risks, and experiment, technology will more likely disrupt positively. A teacher's view of a laptop as a fence or a bridge can be influenced by colleagues and the culture of the school in which they teach. Where the student perspective is front and center, technological innovation can flourish and contribute to a transformation of teaching, learning, and schools themselves. Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) schools are well situated to harness technology for the transformation of teaching and learning because the CES Common Principles incorporate a valid, student-centered pedagogy, a teacher-as-coach model, personalization, and respect for students. These schools are collaborative and reward risk-taking.
Coalition of Essential Schools. 1330 Broadway Suite 600, Oakland, CA 94612. Tel: 510-433-1451; Fax: 510-433-1455; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico