In the last post, How a 1200 Baud Modem Didn’t Change Our World, three questions were raised which educators have always needed to ask when considering the implementation of a new technology in schools. The first question was:
Does the technology address curriculum goals?
This seems like a hopelessly obvious question to ask. If it’s such an obvious question, then why isn’t it asked with the necessary regularity? The simple answer? Techno-gaga. Techno-lust. Techno-struck. Call it what you will.
Let’s define it as the state of being infatuated with the idea of using technology. Over the years, we’ve been wowed with the appearance of new technology, and the promise of how it will change education. Paradigms would shift, curricula would be redesigned, and the role of the teacher would be drastically altered. Appearing in schools was Logo, Hypercard, iMovie, Powerpoint– the list goes on. Amazing educational experiences for students, yet . . .
. . . they still have to learn to read and write. The reality of education is that fundamental literacy skills are still a primary focus of the curriculum. Many more areas of curricular concern have been added to the teacher’s proverbial plate. In addition to teaching literacy, mathematics, content areas such as social studies and science, the fine arts, and many others, teachers are now enlisted in the fight against childhood obesity, bullying, drugs, and other social problems. This is all to happen within the limited timeframe of the school day.
Given the present state of curricular pressures placed upon teachers, any new technology introduced to a school must address current curriculum requirements. Otherwise, it will go the way of past innovations and fall off that proverbial plate.
In designing COW (Creative Online Writing), Alieo Games has developed a tool for teachers that will enable them to effectively enhance the teaching of one fundamental curriculum goal: writing.
Using COW with students will not be an “add on,” but a valuable tool to get students motivated to write and receive relevant feedback upon the quality of their writing. COW provides an online learning environment in which students will not only improve their writing fluency, but also practice using elements of writing as taught by their teacher.
So, in answer to the question, “Does COW address curriculum goals?” the answer is a resounding, “Moo!” (Translated from the bovine to mean, “Yes.”)