Though educators are finding smart ways to integrate technology and learning, the road has been and continues to be challenging on multiple fronts. The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, a collaboration between the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking, and the International Society for Technology in Education, takes the birds-eye view and encapsulates some of the significant challenges that must still be addressed and offers the following assessment.
Behind the challenges listed here is also a pervasive sense that local and organizational constraints are likely the most important factors in any decision to adopt — or not to adopt — a given technology. Even K-12 institutions that are eager to adopt new technologies may be constrained by school policies, the lack of necessary human resources, and the financial wherewithal to realize their ideas. Still others are located within buildings that simply were not designed to provide the radio frequency transparency that wireless technologies require, and thus find themselves shut out of many potential technology options. While acknowledging that local barriers to technology adoptions are many and significant, the advisory board focused its discussions on challenges that are common to the K-12 community as a whole. The highest ranked challenges they identified are listed here, in the order in which the advisory board ranked them.
1. Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession, especially teaching. This challenge appears at the top of the list because despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is still very rare in teacher education. As classroom professionals begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral.
2. K-12 must address the increased blending of formal and informal learning. Traditional lectures and subsequent testing are still dominant learning vehicles in schools. In order for students to get a well- rounded education with real world experience, they must also engage in more informal in-class activities as well as learning to learn outside the classroom. Most schools are not encouraging students to do any of this, nor to experiment and take risks with Continue reading