Mar. 27, 2009

Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom

In this video presented by Mobile Learning Institute, Alan tours his hometown of Marblehead, MA and comments on the historical global vision of his community.

Find more videos like this on NL Connect

Alan challenges us to think about the emerging role of “student as contributor” and to globalize our curriculum by linking students with authentic audiences from around the world. (For more on this topic read Alan’s article, Students as Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm.

He also discusses three myths regarding the impact of technology on student learning:

Myth #1: Technology is going to be the great equalizer of society.
In reality, technology is actually polarizing society.

Myth #2: The Internet is going to provide a diversity of opinion. We will have an input of ideas from around the world and generally have a better educated society.
In reality, people are going to the web to get their “version” of the truth.

Myth #3 Technology is going to make kids smarter.
In reality, it’s a distraction. Overall we are missing out on critical thinking.

1. What types of real jobs can we give our students? Share your stories.

2. What do you think about Alan’s concept of authentic work and the shift of control from teacher-centered classrooms to student-centered?

3. What are your thoughts on the three myths? Do you have any myths of your own?

17 Responses to "Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom"

  • […] Every once and a while, I need to get a “fix” of Alan November. […]

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  • Scott Moran says:

    Bravo to the idea that students having jobs through which they can accomplish meaningful work. However, I would like to note that this is not a new idea. In fact, many progressive schools have been using this model for nearly a century. In fact, the school I am a part of, City & Country School in Manhattan, has been running a jobs program for nearly that long that has 3rd – 8th graders taking on functional jobs within the school. These jobs are necessary for the functioning of the school, they are real jobs and they have curricular relevancy. You can learn more about this program from our website or in more detail from many other related publication (I’d be happy to share, my email is: [email protected]).

    What Alan proposes is wonderful, in that it takes these progressive ideas and applies newly available technology to them. I would love to be a part of any discussion that takes this idea forward with these new tools.

  • Mark Kostur says:

    Too much focus is given to the technology device or application and learning to use the technology device or application instead of focusing on how to use the tools to to create their own learning opportunities to prepare then for a life of eventual career change situations.

  • Sonny Magana says:


    Here is the screencast of the autistic student using the Promethean board. Sonny

  • Shadow Gorrill says:

    The idea of shifting the control from teacher to students sets the students up to be the master of their thoughts and ideas. Doing this globally allows students to see the views of other countries and peoples in order to be better able to form their own opinions.

  • George Stanhope says:

    Technology is something that will be with us for years and years. Not only will it stay, but it will grow. By allowing studens to use it and learn it, they will gain more experience, and deeper knowledge. In the real world, technology is used every day. Why would we take it from kids, and make them learn it outside of school?

  • Amanda Jones says:

    The more technology is banned from schools and the more technology in society advances, the worse and worse education students will get. Technology is part of daily life and avoiding it in classrooms is preventing moving ahead with the future. Preventing children from learning about their future will make them have more work when they get out of school, and have to learn how to use technology and utilise it for their careers.

  • Mel Applebee says:

    You aren’t even in school today, and it makes me wonder how you know what and how kids are learning. I am a teacher and yes we do use technology, but its not like we always resort to the computer when we have a question. We have hundreds of books that are always being used and the internet can actually be forgotten at points.
    You can compare the internet and such to books, they are filled with information and we use them in moderation. Though it is usually in moderation, there is always that exception who is obsessed or who only depends on them. Don’t base your hypothesis on the exception, allow yourself to see the whole picture. The students would be missing out on learning if technology was taken away or minimized.

  • Mary Outinen says:

    I do feel that technology is the opportunity that we are missing in helping students become global learners. How wonderful it would be to be able to connect with classrooms around the world to discuss their viewpoints after reading the same novel? What a great dicscussion this would create!

  • Yvette Martin says:

    I think the message from November is to use technology as a tool to help students see the bigger picture about learning. Learning is ongoing and requires self direction. Teachers have an obligation to guide learning, not pour it into the heads of students. I embrace technology as our window to the Global Society. Why wouldn’t we want this for our students?

  • John Peters says:

    Too often the focus on technology in the classroom is on toys rather than tools. Schools are bomabrded with slick sales pitches for programs, software and hardware that are classroom specific and have no application in the real world. In many cases, these classroom specific tools do not deliver as advertised and are not adaptable to other classroom uses so that over time schools become a repository for useless junk as these tools become outdated. If we want students to be truly technology literate, they need to be educated in the concepts of mainstream software applications and how to apply those resources and applications to critical thinking and problem solving skills.

  • Donna Kelly says:

    Just attended your presentation and now watched your video. First, thank you for allowing WTV to videotape and I am looking forward to editing for broadcast on our local public access channel. I would like to expand your concept of the students teaching in the classroom to students teaching in the community simultaneously. It’s so possible and seems the exact best use of a powerful tool such as access TV. thanks again!

  • Jean Montgomery says:

    I am all about turing Blooms upside down and starting with situated learning and learning for a purpose. I am hoping that you can help us as faculty to understand how we translate this into a grade….do we also allow them to establish their own evaluation criteria?

  • Shaun Barnett says:

    Alan is such a visionary in the field of global education. I never get tired of hearing him speak of his passion for education. He has influenced me greatly over the last two years and I look forward to learning more with him in the coming years. This video is a testament to his vision and passion for building a global system of education.

    Thanks Alan for your vision.

  • rbpower says:

    I thought that what Mr. November said was really innovating and awesome! I also work at an alternative center teaching math. Any idea is very welcome!

  • rbpower says:

    No. My comment is that I also never get tired of hearing him speak of his passion for education. It has also influenced me as well. By the way my madien name is Barnett! What a coincidence!

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About November Learning

Led by Alan November and based in Marblehead, MA, November Learning equips teachers and administrators to motivate students to own their learning and make global connections by using effective technology and implementing rigorous assignments. Through our annual Building Learning Communities conference, professional development services and extended resources, our team of experts empowers educators to enact powerful changes across the curriculum, drawing on students’ abilities to think critically, communicate globally, express creativity and collaborate across several types of media.

Find us on Twitter @nlearning, Facebook and LinkedIn.
For more information, please email [email protected] or call +1 781-631-4333.

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