Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Keeping Up With Digital Natives

Central New York teachers find keeping pace with technology is hard work
  • Video and audio podcasting.
  • Virtual field trips.
  • Geocaching.
Those are all topics North Syracuse business teacher Todd Cook has had to learn to keep up with how fast technology is changing.

Just six years ago, Cook graduated with a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Le Moyne College. Two years later, he got his master's from Le Moyne.

But the 28-year-old who started teaching business classes at North Syracuse Junior High School five years ago isn't alone.

Rapidly changing technology is a challenge for many teachers, said Harrison Yang, professor of curriculum and instruction at the State University College at Oswego.

"We just can't avoid it," Yang said. "These new technologies are already part of (teenagers') lives. We cannot just teach the old stuff and something not related to their interests and routines."

The solution - at least at North Syracuse:

... [the] district offered two-hour workshops where Cook and others learned about blogging, podcasting, video conferencing and computer software, including Audacity, Windows Movie Maker and Photo Story.

Cook also has taken online college courses to learn more about podcasting, creating and editing PDF files in Adobe Acrobat, and Windows Movie Maker. In the spring, he plans to take another online class from Fresno Pacific University about a high-tech, outdoor treasure hunting game called geocaching.

Read the story (linked above) for examples of what other school districts are doing to keep up.

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