PowerPoint and Other Stone Age Tools

 

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Stone Age societies lived and operated completely independent of other existing civilizations, but five thousand years later, our students should not still be living and learning that way. Our students need to be hunter and gatherers of a different sort, hunting for information and gathering tools that allow them to meaningfully interact with the curriculum. Yet, many popular digital resources have been around since the 1990s, and in terms of educational technology, that might as well be the Stone Age. The technology our students use needs to evolve with their abilities, expertise, and overall proficiency. We need to be preparing students for the next levels of learning with technology. We need to be preparing our students for the Bronze and Iron Ages – not a second Stone Age.

This is the YouTube generation, and these students need to be creating content, not consuming it. There are too many tools out there to simply fall back on outdated ways of presenting and sharing information. Basic presentation software makes it simply too easy to cut and paste information without actually learning anything. Students need to be creating content that reaches a broader audience than the people sitting in their classroom. Whether it’s making videos, podcasts, or infographics, there are plenty of ways to present and share information in new and unique ways that open the doors to the highest levels of Blooms Taxonomy.

Presenting information isn’t a device or program specific action, it’s a ubiquitous task. Even if a teacher feels limited to programs of comfort, they need to explore other options for export. Presentation software can be used to create much more than presentations. Try using it to make videos, images, or infographics, and let students have a say in how they choose to present their information. One size doesn’t fit all. The same project for every student isn’t a project, it’s a recipe.

Preparing our students for a world we cannot yet imagine begins by encouraging students to think differently and giving them opportunities to explore their interests. We have to trust that when given the opportunity and necessary support, students will use technology in meaningful ways to broaden their horizons  One caveman looked at a rock and saw a weapon, another caveman looked at a rock and saw a wheel. Students are capable of doing great things with technology if given the opportunity.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “PowerPoint and Other Stone Age Tools

  1. Rebecca

    Loved your analogies! Blogs like yours helps me keep a visual as I embrace our learners today! Thanks!

  2. This is great! Kids need to know our history and so that they’ll know how to appreciate those things.

  3. Jim Homan

    Sean, well played. The analogies work. The point is crystal clear. You are a poet.

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  6. Hi Sean, a great post that I will certainly reference in a PD I’m delivering to some Stone Age teachers next Tuesday. Also enjoyed seeing you tweet about my friends at Haiku Deck … I’m proud to have been the first person appointed as one of their gurus.
    PS: Saw the YouTube generation referred to the other day as “screenagers.” I think it’s a term that could catch on :)

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