Teaching Technology

Presenting the Content

A couple weeks ago, I made a post about how developing content for a technology lecture I was giving ended up being a little harder than I thought it would be. Well, I finally spent some time at the Nashville Software School in downtown Nashville to a room full of eager, talented students who are learning the ropes of being software developers.

I have to say that it was a lot of fun.

The best thing about it was that all the content that I produced to help guide the students, and myself, through the concepts was largely ignored as I answered questions, gave real world examples, and shot from the hip to help explain things as best I could.

I can imagine that teaching subjects that were figured out thousands of years ago might become pedantic. Algebra doesn’t change, nor does the basics of English or Chemistry. Conversely, technology is changing and advancing at a blistering rate. Not only that, there are no static rules or procedures for teaching and learning technology. Of course, these same things are what makes teaching technology so problematic at a systemic level.

I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up

I have read myriad articles within the last 5 years bemoaning the state of technology education in our public, and even private, educational system. If you’re a full time teacher, how could you possibly have enough time to teach and also learn enough to keep teaching relevant information. It’s a Catch-22 (double bind) situation. Spend time to learn the latest technology trends, which is a full time job, at the expense of preparing materials, helping students and honing your craft, or spend time to better teach technology to students to make it more fun and engaging, all the while falling further and further behind what is current.

Our education bureaucracy can’t possibly keep up with standards, teaching materials, resources and programs.

Let’s Change the Rules a Bit

That’s why programs like Nashville Software School, the Khan Academy, Code.org, and Coursera (there are many others popping up all the time now) are the way to teach tech moving forward. They can also easily be integrated into the K-12 school system where guest lecturers, real-world programming exercises, online videos are all curated an managed through the Technology Education Manager at each school.

That way, the educator that works for your community school gets to spend time on making sure that the content is taught at the right pace, is engaging for the student, and meets qualitative standards while not being responsible for producing any of the content. The teacher simply presents the content in the most effective way possible, and becomes a master at helping student get to the right answer without even needing to know what the right answer is.

After all, isn’t that what our educational system should be about. Teach the students to learn and explore and wonder wherever possible. The teacher is there to guide a child through that process to make it as efficient and engaging as possible.

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