Authentic tech activities challenge stereotypes

I have long argued that a great way to address stereotypes regarding the potential of technology is to show educators striking counter-examples. To many, sitting in a classroom or a lab staring at a computer is the stereotypes I have long seen as artificial.

I was reminded of this issue in a kind of strange way. My personal training in biology sensitizes me to certain issues. The willingness of politicians to deny the reality of climate change is one such issue. In following this issue, I came across this article about taking students into the field to help them understand issues of ecology and climate. The article stressed the importance of getting learners involved in the science of ecology.

Take a look at the article I reference. For me, the image used in the article immediately triggered memories of a field-based experience my wife helped develop and sponsor. The project allowed middle school students to visit a state park in North Dakota and use technology to address issues of environmental importance. This was early on in the push for ways to integrate technology and the project has remained for me nearly a perfect example of using technology to provide students authentic experiences that allow them to function as scientific practitioners.

I wrote about this example in our textbook many years ago (a related description exists online) and the characteristics of the example still serve as a reminder of the potential of educational technology. I had the opportunity to video some of the events and I have now converted the video to YouTube video to offer this example.

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