A Believer in the Future of Internet-Driven Education
A conversation with technology integration specialist John Sowash
John Sowash is a former teacher and school administrator, founder of the Google Certification Academy, and author of The Chromebook Classroom. He inspires educators to use technology to challenge students. Sowash will be presenting at the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC 2020) in Miami as a featured speaker in the Future of Ed Tech Coach track, which is a new track added for 2020.
Leveraging the power of storytelling and understanding and how to integrate it into the learning process can benefit student engagement. Sowash sees technology as a means of creating and sharing information through storytelling. The 21st century student has access to a great deal of technology even in their downtime away from school, so to ignore that knowledge base is a disservice to students.
"When students have opportunities to authentically share and display their learning, it's a lot more motivating. So, rather than having students write essays that get read by the teacher and then go into the trash can, instead ask them to turn essays into podcasts and publish for others to enjoy. We do the same thing with video. Looking at ways to create something and sharing it with the world is one of the most powerful ways to use technology in the classroom," explains Sowash.
Sowash has been a strong proponent of the Chromebook even during the early stages of the device, but he reiterates it's the Internet he is betting on. As he declares, "What it all boils down to is I am going all-in on the Internet. I believe that the Internet will be the lasting platform that will transcend time, generations, and tools. The iPads will come and go. Different tools will come and go, but the Internet itself is not a fad. When I say I'm all in on Chromebooks, that's actually the code word for 'I'm all in on the Internet.'"
There is a foundational shift taking place brought on by technology, and education is part of that cultural change. From a philosophical standpoint, there's an openness to information that is both exciting and challenging. "The Internet eliminates gatekeepers. It eliminates knowledge silos. There's no Encyclopedia Britannica anymore. Knowledge isn't contained to a company, a person, or an expert," adds Sowash. Kids are learning all the time outside the classroom environment.
As he explains, "You may argue the value of learning video games on Twitch or social communication on Snapchat. But learning happens in very different ways than traditional methods we have experienced in our past."
About John R. Sowash
John Sowash is a tech coach and technology integration specialist for Sowash Ventures, LLC.
He is the creator of useful resources for educators that can be read on his blog, The Electric Educator. John is the author of The Chromebook Classroom and founder of the Google Certification Academy. His areas of expertise include the following: Digital Tools, Technology Enhanced, Pedagogy, Google, Mobile and 1:1 Tools. You can connect with John on Twitter
The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at https://www.fetc.org/register
- The Inverness Courier - Highland Council's Chromebook roll out prepares pupils for new era of digital learning
- BBN Times - The Growing Role of the Internet of Things in Education
- The Atlantic - An Internet for Kids