Overcoming Resistance to Emerging Technologies in the Classroom

More thoughts from Vinall-Cox’s article:

Another response to the idea of the ‘head in the sand’ approach to teaching. In “Teaching Writing in the Age of Online Computers” , Joan Vinall-Cox hints at the tension many educators may feel in a technology rich classroom:
“I am teaching in a “new classroom” with the “new tools” – a classroom that I love teaching in, but also a classroom where teachers must be in rapid transition, trying to keep up with the changes in the way our students use technology and language” ( College Quarterly, 8.2, 2005 accessed Nov.5,05). This tension may be what many teachers feel when approaching ‘social software,’ or any emerging or new technologies, for that matter. The problem, as Vinall-Cox states, is one of immersion, as many adult teachers have not grown up immersed in these platforms:

Most of today’s teachers are “digital immigrants” (Prensky, 2001) while our students are “digital natives” (2001) who “have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cam, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age” (2001).( “Teaching Writing” accessed Nov.5,05)

Teachers may be approaching these technologies as ‘digital immigrants,’ but I would posit that it is the technologies themselves that are ‘immigrating’ into our classroom, being piggi-backed in by our tech-savvy students. Regardless of this semantic divergence, I agree with Vinall-Cox’s assertion that this requires a pedagogical shift on our part:
“The tool, the platforms, and the communicators have all been metamorphosing, and we are dwelling in a new framework, and must, consequently, change our ways of teaching”( “Teaching Writing” accessed Nov.5,05).

I will leave this post with Vinall Cox’s thoughts on the importance of overcoming our ‘head in the sand’ approach to emerging tech. These are thought-provoking words that suggest the implications of our response fall far beyond the walls of our classroooms:

Many digital-resistant people would like to choose what changes are allowed, but I suggest that the computer and the Web are now central to the emerging World Culture. As Ong (1982) said in Orality and Literacy : “[t]he interaction between the orality that all humans are born into and the technology of writing, which no one is born into, touches the depth of the psyche” (p. 175). ( Teaching Writing in the Age of Online Computers accessed Nov.5,05)


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