FETC 2001 Interview

T.H.E. Journal had the opportunity to speak with Douglas Johnson, a featured speaker at FETC 2001. Johnson has been the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato Public Schools since 1991, and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State University, Mankato, since 1990. He has conducted workshops and given presentations around the world, and is the author of two books: The Indispensable Librarian and The Indispensable Teacher's Guide to Computer Skills.

T.H.E.: Do you think the future of Web security is in filtering, or in creating a pre-determined list of sites from which to search from? What kinds of censorship and safety issues arise from both options?

Johnson: Since filters work very poorly and pre-determined sites don't help teach resource discrimination skills, I'd suggest neither is the future of Web security. Smart schools will be stressing training students and staff in appropriate use, using the Internet for worthwhile curricular purposes, monitoring student behavior, and advocating that the same freedoms we now give our students to read and view are extended to online access as well. The worst thing we can do right now is to create a false sense of security with our staff and community by saying, "Now that we have a filter, we no longer need to plan or supervise student use of online resources."

T.H.E.: What is the new role of library media specialists?

Johnson: Having moved from an information desert to an information jungle in just the past few years, library media specialists will spend less time helping students locate and access scarce resources and more time helping them evaluate and purposefully use the vast number of resources available. The hyper-abundance of information, along with the increased expectation that all citizens can use information to creatively solve problems, has also meant that library media specialists need to help teachers create more meaningful research assignments and develop better tools for assessing the learning that results from such assignments. At the same time we still need to fulfill our goals to create better readers and independent learners. Rather than being replaced by the Internet, the library media specialist's role is becoming increasingly important for its successful use in schools.

T.H.E.: Is technology more effective when used to teach traditional academic subjects, or should its primary use be to train students in the use of technology for future careers?

Johnson: Technology can be used to enhance the teaching in academic or vocational areas. The best uses in either area are when students are asked to use it to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and skills within a discipline. Teaching "programs" that will soon be outdated is not a very good use of technology. But teaching lifelong skills that can be enhanced through the use of technology is.

For example, teaching a presentation program for the sake of learning a presentation program only gives students skills that will be outdated as soon as the next version of the program comes out. Teaching students to improve their communication skills by using a presentation program in an effective way is something they will probably use for the rest of their lives. Good teachers are aware that technology is an amplification device for non-technical abilities in all careers: whether that ability is diagnosing a mechanical problem, writing a sonata, or conducting a science experiment.

T.H.E. Journal had the opportunity to speak with Douglas Johnson, a featured speaker at FETC 2001. Johnson has been the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato Public Schools since 1991, and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State University, Mankato, since 1990. He has conducted workshops and given presentations around the world, and is the author of two books: The Indispensable Librarian and The Indispensable Teacher's Guide to Computer Skills.

T.H.E.: Do you think the future of Web security is in filtering, or in creating a pre-determined list of sites from which to search from? What kinds of censorship and safety issues arise from both options?

Johnson: Since filters work very poorly and pre-determined sites don't help teach resource discrimination skills, I'd suggest neither is the future of Web security. Smart schools will be stressing training students and staff in appropriate use, using the Internet for worthwhile curricular purposes, monitoring student behavior, and advocating that the same freedoms we now give our students to read and view are extended to online access as well. The worst thing we can do right now is to create a false sense of security with our staff and community by saying, "Now that we have a filter, we no longer need to plan or supervise student use of online resources."

T.H.E.: What is the new role of library media specialists?

Johnson: Having moved from an information desert to an information jungle in just the past few years, library media specialists will spend less time helping students locate and access scarce resources and more time helping them evaluate and purposefully use the vast number of resources available. The hyper-abundance of information, along with the increased expectation that all citizens can use information to creatively solve problems, has also meant that library media specialists need to help teachers create more meaningful research assignments and develop better tools for assessing the learning that results from such assignments. At the same time we still need to fulfill our goals to create better readers and independent learners. Rather than being replaced by the Internet, the library media specialist's role is becoming increasingly important for its successful use in schools.

T.H.E.: Is technology more effective when used to teach traditional academic subjects, or should its primary use be to train students in the use of technology for future careers?

Johnson: Technology can be used to enhance the teaching in academic or vocational areas. The best uses in either area are when students are asked to use it to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and skills within a discipline. Teaching "programs" that will soon be outdated is not a very good use of technology. But teaching lifelong skills that can be enhanced through the use of technology is.

For example, teaching a presentation program for the sake of learning a presentation program only gives students skills that will be outdated as soon as the next version of the program comes out. Teaching students to improve their communication skills by using a presentation program in an effective way is something they will probably use for the rest of their lives. Good teachers are aware that technology is an amplification device for non-technical abilities in all careers: whether that ability is diagnosing a mechanical problem, writing a sonata, or conducting a science experiment.

T.H.E. Journal had the opportunity to speak with Douglas Johnson, a featured speaker at FETC 2001. Johnson has been the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato Public Schools since 1991, and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State University, Mankato, since 1990. He has conducted workshops and given presentations around the world, and is the author of two books: The Indispensable Librarian and The Indispensable Teacher's Guide to Computer Skills.

T.H.E.: Do you think the future of Web security is in filtering, or in creating a pre-determined list of sites from which to search from? What kinds of censorship and safety issues arise from both options?

Johnson: Since filters work very poorly and pre-determined sites don't help teach resource discrimination skills, I'd suggest neither is the future of Web security. Smart schools will be stressing training students and staff in appropriate use, using the Internet for worthwhile curricular purposes, monitoring student behavior, and advocating that the same freedoms we now give our students to read and view are extended to online access as well. The worst thing we can do right now is to create a false sense of security with our staff and community by saying, "Now that we have a filter, we no longer need to plan or supervise student use of online resources."

T.H.E.: What is the new role of library media specialists?

Johnson: Having moved from an information desert to an information jungle in just the past few years, library media specialists will spend less time helping students locate and access scarce resources and more time helping them evaluate and purposefully use the vast number of resources available. The hyper-abundance of information, along with the increased expectation that all citizens can use information to creatively solve problems, has also meant that library media specialists need to help teachers create more meaningful research assignments and develop better tools for assessing the learning that results from such assignments. At the same time we still need to fulfill our goals to create better readers and independent learners. Rather than being replaced by the Internet, the library media specialist's role is becoming increasingly important for its successful use in schools.

T.H.E.: Is technology more effective when used to teach traditional academic subjects, or should its primary use be to train students in the use of technology for future careers?

Johnson: Technology can be used to enhance the teaching in academic or vocational areas. The best uses in either area are when students are asked to use it to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and skills within a discipline. Teaching "programs" that will soon be outdated is not a very good use of technology. But teaching lifelong skills that can be enhanced through the use of technology is.

For example, teaching a presentation program for the sake of learning a presentation program only gives students skills that will be outdated as soon as the next version of the program comes out. Teaching students to improve their communication skills by using a presentation program in an effective way is something they will probably use for the rest of their lives. Good teachers are aware that technology is an amplification device for non-technical abilities in all careers: whether that ability is diagnosing a mechanical problem, writing a sonata, or conducting a science experiment.X@XOpenTag000

T.H.E. Journal had the opportunity to speak with Douglas Johnson, a featured speaker at FETC 2001. Johnson has been the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato Public Schools since 1991, and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State University, Mankato, since 1990. He has conducted workshops and given presentations around the world, and is the author of two books: The Indispensable Librarian and The Indispensable Teacher's Guide to Computer Skills.

T.H.E.: Do you think the future of Web security is in filtering, or in creating a pre-determined list of sites from which to search from? What kinds of censorship and safety issues arise from both options?

Johnson: Since filters work very poorly and pre-determined sites don't help teach resource discrimination skills, I'd suggest neither is the future of Web security. Smart schools will be stressing training students and staff in appropriate use, using the Internet for worthwhile curricular purposes, monitoring student behavior, and advocating that the same freedoms we now give our students to read and view are extended to online access as well. The worst thing we can do right now is to create a false sense of security with our staff and community by saying, "Now that we have a filter, we no longer need to plan or supervise student use of online resources."

T.H.E.: What is the new role of library media specialists?

Johnson: Having moved from an information desert to an information jungle in just the past few years, library media specialists will spend less time helping students locate and access scarce resources and more time helping them evaluate and purposefully use the vast number of resources available. The hyper-abundance of information, along with the increased expectation that all citizens can use information to creatively solve problems, has also meant that library media specialists need to help teachers create more meaningful research assignments and develop better tools for assessing the learning that results from such assignments. At the same time we still need to fulfill our goals to create better readers and independent learners. Rather than being replaced by the Internet, the library media specialist's role is becoming increasingly important for its successful use in schools.

T.H.E.: Is technology more effective when used to teach traditional academic subjects, or should its primary use be to train students in the use of technology for future careers?

Johnson: Technology can be used to enhance the teaching in academic or vocational areas. The best uses in either area are when students are asked to use it to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and skills within a discipline. Teaching "programs" that will soon be outdated is not a very good use of technology. But teaching lifelong skills that can be enhanced through the use of technology is.

For example, teaching a presentation program for the sake of learning a presentation program only gives students skills that will be outdated as soon as the next version of the program comes out. Teaching students to improve their communication skills by using a presentation program in an effective way is something they will probably use for the rest of their lives. Good teachers are aware that technology is an amplification device for non-technical abilities in all careers: whether that ability is diagnosing a mechanical problem, writing a sonata, or conducting a science experiment.X@XCloseTag000

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