I spent Thursday and Friday in two NITLE workshops on social software and on emerging technologies in liberal education.
I am trying to do my part to raise the profile of technology in the process of curriculum review and in our educational mission in general at Rollins. Of course, when I use the word "technology" I don't mean all the technologies that surround us from from air conditioners to zippers. I mean the constellation of networked computing technologies, both hard and software,that are increasingly embedded in our lives.
I like to explain my concern this way. Our students come from technologically rich environments (in their high schools, their homes, and their social lives.) They will leave us to go into technologically rich environments in graduate school,in the workplace, and most aspects of their lives. What are we doing in the few years they are with us to respond to their technological expectations and to prepare them to be able to critically engage with technology throughout their lives? Many, most,of our students are facile users of technology but not necessarily ready to make informed choices about technology. I think this needs to be part of what it means to be liberally educated in the 21st century. These workshops will, I hope, help the Rollins faculty as a whole to engage with this issue more than it seems they have in the past. Some already are, but I think it needs to be a bigger part of our general conversation.
Some of the technologies discussed at the workshops include blogs,wikis, social bookmarking sites like delicious, facebook, second life, flickr, twitter, podcasting, and games. There are lots of information and other stuff at the workshop wiki links above.