There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.
– Niccolo Machiavelli
As a great number of teachers and educators are aware, to discuss the relevence of computers in today's classrooms is to misunderstand the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in society. Our role as educators carries the responsibility of preparing our students for the world in which they live, and the society in which they must thrive once their school-days are over.
To ignore or reject the progress of ICT is akin to hiding deeper under the bedsheets when the floor-boards creak. You can't stay under there forever, learning technologies are unlikely to disappear, and the perceived menace is as insubstantial as any phantom.
As Katrin Becker puts it, "We are rapidly approaching the point where people who don’t know how to read and send email, look at things on the web and do basic word-processing are about as far out of touch with society as people who couldn’t read in the 1950′s."
Students do not use technology in the classroom, they use it in their lives. It is a tool for communication and creativity, interaction and learning. If we attempt to exlude these activities from the classroom then we will succeed in transforming our schools into places where communication and creativity are lacking.
Teachers that can be replaced by a machine should be.
- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
However, even the best ICT will neither repair a broken system nor improve a poor teacher. It does not replace a valid tool or resource and will never crush valuable traditions and practices. Quite simply, it provides a contemporary and engaging approach for the innovative educator to guide and inspire their students. More importantly, it is a language which must be learned by children today in order to open the doors they will be faced with tomorrow.