Students’ roles are changing through technology integration

I’m writing to class prompts again this week…

What are some ways that students’ roles are changing through technology integration?

Wow. This is once again one of those questions that must either be answered with a magnum opus, or a very digestible list. As I catch up with the class again, I offer a digestible list. Also, as I once again enter a very full thread… I will try to focus on this prompt from the perspective of the changes read/write web services, such as blogs, are bringing.

I think you’ll find these suggested new roles for students include a variety of opportunities for "learner participation", including many opportunities for feedback and for practice. (Smaldino, 2005, p. 66-68) They are also very much in keeping with Papert’s (1993) vision of "the child as epistemologist" (p. 229), and very relevant to Berman and Tinker’s (1997) discussion of the virtual high school. In fact, our own blackboard environment is very much a part of the read/write web, albeit an exclusive and password protected service. I wonder, what would be the downside to Blackboard classes being available to all (or at least to the search engines)? I can imagine a few answers to this, but thought it might be interesting to ask. Perhaps it might be better to ask what the pros and cons might be…

Anyway, on with that digestible list…

Students will…

1.) … become active creators, as well as consumers, of educational content.
2.) … interact (and solve problems) with global networks of peers with similar (or related) interests. These peers will be a variety of ages and have a variety of ability, experience, and skill levels.
3.) … interact (and solve problems) with experts in a variety of real-world fields and applications.
4.) … become reflective meta-cognitive thinkers (and problem solvers).
5.) … show us a thing or two, but need to learn to be graceful about it at the same time. In general, they will need to come to terms with the awesome and unprecedented responsibility they will be burdened with along with these amazing new powers.

Funny how this reads like objectives, eh? Well… up until the end there anyway.

Here we go…



Berman, T. Cuban, L. The world’s the limit in the virtual high school. In The Jossey-Bass Reader on Technology and Learning. (2000). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Papert, S. Computers and computer cultures. In The Jossey-Bass Reader on Technology and Learning. (2000). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Smaldino, S., Russell, J., Heinich, R., Molenda, M. (2005). Instructional technology and media for learning. (Eighth ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall