Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A private high school's staff responses to a Web 2.0 and "abundant digital media" presentation

Written for South African High School educators and decision makers.

My latest presentation sums up questionnaire feedback from fourteen South African private high school staff. This follows a talk I gave on "abundant digital culture" and its potential benefits and hazards for their school. 

One educator made an important point on terminology; "abundant culture" could be misconstrued as promoting an affluent, materialistic bias. I now use the term "abundant digital media" to avoid this association. Plus, it better reflects the concept. I hope other researchers follow suit!

The biggest challenge the questionnaire feedback reveals is that while educators surveyed believe that  Web 2.0 and allied technologies should increasingly impact education, most teachers do not currently have the support they need to prepare for this in their curriculums. Without the time, assistance and incentives to learn new software, it is unlikely that educators will be able to help learners develop new media literacies in class. 

Unless school management decides to prioritise such support, many educators will not be able to provide the learning advantages that abundant digital media could offer from 2013. They will also be unprepared to help learners with avoiding its hazards. It is now up to school management to weigh-up the costs of helping its educators versus the risks of procrastination.

Hopefully, the opportunity-cost proves worthwhile; resulting in clear directives, policy support, training and appropriate incentives. These should encourage all the school's educators to "bubble-up" curriculum innovations whose Information Communication Technology knowledge and skills-development can better prepare learners for the post-industrial economy.

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