Yes to be literate in this century does require an expanded skill set from the last century. However I think as educators we need to pause and ponder, what is school for? Why should we be literate? And goodness, what is technology and what is your philosophy of it all? Most schools I have had to good fortune to work in have had an intertwined philosophy of both education and technology. Sometimes we need students to simply practice skills by rote. In some cases content is, dare I say, “covered”. Sometimes in a grade one classroom we need to train students to remember how to spell “cat” and how to tell the difference between 6 and 9. However mostly we want schools to teach students how to think deeply and how to live well with each other. Most skilled teachers that I have known flip back and forth between instruction and construction but always with a focus on designing good tasks that allows students to have choice in how they approach the task. It is easy to get lost in the razzle-dazzle of a new technology, but good teaching and learning isn’t about technology. Teaching and learning is a process, learning is negotiation and it can be messy. How can we really learn without a little confusion. We need to be curious rather than certain! I believe we learn “with” technology not because of it. If we want our schools to foster meaningful learning, Howland, Jonassen, and Marra (2012) argue that teachers must treat technology as a partner in the learning process. I say Technology can be a pathway to understanding. In this light, technology is more than a device. It has the potential to broaden our human capacity to learn not because it has some magical power. As an intellectual partner, technology can support us in reflecting and processing the confusion between what we think, we perceive and what we think we know as a meaning-making event.
Howland, J., Jonassen, D. H., & Marra, R. M. (2012). Meaningfullearning with technology (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.