Welcome to the one place where EMAC is Whack!

"Attack of the EMAC" is Kevin Sharpe's class blog for EMAC 6300: Introduction to the Study of Emerging Media and Communications at the University of Texas, Dallas. He is an educational marketing manager and runs the Newspaper in Education program at The Dallas Morning News.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why are leaders/teachers afraid of progress?

EMAC Classmate Little Miss Cales blogs about a disappointing attitude from elected leaders in government regarding our emerging digital world and how vulnerable we are all becoming due to our dependency on technology and digital connectivity. It’s a threat to homeland security!!!!

Little Miss Cales does a great job challenging that attitude. It’s an attitude I come across daily from teachers as an Educational Marketing Manager who is trying to inspire and motivate educators to embrace digital teaching tools. Their stubborn resistance to integrate technology into their lesson plans and instructional styles comes across nearly as passionate patriotism. Surely if these resistant teachers do not fight to maintain outdated approaches to education, civilization will fall!

This article by educational consultant and author Marc Prensky does a great job illustrating the behind-the-scenes battle he faces with headstrong teachers across the world who insist card catalogs in school libraries must remain in case the power goes out.

These teachers insist their cause is to ensure “the basics” remain in schools. Prensky calls their attitude and reasoning “backup” education.

... what the teachers are really saying is this: “We don’t trust the technology of today, or the future. We don’t trust the world in which you kids are going to live. We believe the way we did it in our time was the “real” way, the only reliable way, and that’s what we want to teach you kids – “the basics.” (That’s why they all applaud the idiotic video showing people on a stopped escalator just standing there calling for help.)


  1. Thanks for the mention, I feel special! :) And I can understand where the teachers are coming from, but at the same time they need to learn new technology just as the kids need to learn their basics.

  2. Great post, Kevin. To play devils's advocate for a moment I think there may be a tiny bit of validity to the argument of "the basics". Just a tiny bit, though. No I don't think the teachers are right for flat out rejecting technology in the classroom. That's just ridiculous. However, I do think there is value in the knowledge of how to function independent of digital tools. Don't you think it's a little tragic that there are actually kids walking around right now that don't know how to speak or write in plain English? Without OMGing and LOLing these kids really don't know how to express themselves. Now as far as the card catalog goes we can probably let those go. However we should keep at least one and stick it in the Smithsonian for posterity. Check me out at: http://thoroughlymodernmeka.blogspot.com/

  3. I, for one, do not miss the card catalog. However, I do think it is useful for people to understand catalog systems as ways we categorize information!

    But that was a tangent. You do a nice job here of tying the content of the class to a topic about which you are passionate. Like Tameka, I want to play devil's advocate just a little bit...Marcuse, were he here today, might say that this is a example of the insidiousness of technological rationality. It makes sense to integrate new tools into the classroom, and we doubt the rational faculties of anyone who objects. so if you were developing this into a final project, I would ask you to look for and utilize some studies showing how critical thinking is improved through learning technologies.

  4. K- this post reached out to me and I couldn't help but ponder over it long after I stopped reading the blog on my laptop...

    As a person whose personally interested in the business/industry/development of education and the ways it applies new media as a tool whether for learning, research, promotion or other tasks, I find new media debates amongst the scholarly world quite interesting.

    To your point I agree that often times educational bureaucracies are used to traditional means of practice and resistant to change. If the technology they are using leads to destructive and problematic discourse, it's quite possible that perhaps the old guard method is preferable.

    But if opportunity presents itself and offers reward by implementing new creative, 'technological' solutions in to one's curriculum or educational program, one must ask... 'Why not make our academic program better by turning to helpful software and techonology?'

    I don't know if there is anyone right answer but I hope we can discuss this at some point in class... a great post sir! I am a fan...