I had already heard about John McCain’s inability to use a computer even before I read Tim’s post at Assorted Stuff yesterday. I certainly agree with Tim that if this man is going to be our visionary, it seems essential that he at least have a passing knowledge of the potential of these tools. As Sarah Lai Stirland points out in her post, these tools are the way to reach out to Millenials:
Even if he doesn’t feel the need to e-mail, perhaps he should check out tools such as Twitter to reach the Millennials. It’s not just about the coolness of such tools; it’s about getting a candidate’s unique persona and voice through a medium to connect to a new generation.
It occurred to me that John McCain may not be concerned about reaching the Millenials. Maybe he figures he’s already lost them to his rock star opponent so why bother to reach out to them. But, there is something much more serious at stake here.
I believe one of the primary reasons teachers don’t use technology as much as they might to support teaching and learning is because they simply don’t have access to technology on a regular basis. Access comes through funding, mostly federal funding. How many other senators don’t use computers to support their own learning, thus making it difficult for them to understand why a teacher might want to? Throughout the year, we in the ed tech community have been fighting to retain the EETT funding for K-12 and just yesterday I got an email from ISTE asking me to contact my senator about the “Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners” program that should be part of the Higher Education Reauthorization Bill. The purpose of this legislation is to extend the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) program that provided funding for projects related to preparing new teachers to make effective use of technology. But the funding is not included in the Senate version of the bill. I wonder if John McCain had anything to do with that? You still have time to contact him as well as your own representatives to make it clear that this funding must be included if we are going to be able to educate the next generation on how to use computers effectively in the classroom. For more information about the Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners program and a copy of the legislation please go to: http://www.iste.org/Advocacy/
One more comment from this teacher educator about the importance of this funding. I’ve been reading a lot lately that the use of technology in schools will change once the current generation of teachers retires and the digital natives move into the classroom. I don’t think that’s an accurate prediction. I think the next generation is comfortable using technology but being able to text message and post pictures in Facebook is a far cry from using technology with students in the classroom in effective ways to support learning. Please take the time today to contact your legislator (and Senator McCain, too) to let them know that this is important to you and to our students.