My students love to use technology, and we certainly do use lots of it in the classroom. Computers, iPods, iPads, Livescribe Pens, Palm Treos, and even a SMART Board are all tools that the students have regular access to and know how to use well.
I don’t teach technology though. I teach reading, writing, math, health, science, social studies, and the Arts. As I said to a teacher in the staffroom just the other day, “Expectations always come first. I plan based on these expectations, and I try to offer my students rich experiences based on these expectations too.” Often we use technology in the classroom to meet these expectations, but we don’t always do so! Look to today, when the students created music for our television show project. Just as many of them are using real musical instruments, as those that use the iPad/iPod app. Providing choice is important.
So yes, I’m a teacher that will continue to use technology in the classroom because I see value in using these tools to help students learn. Technology often allows students to create, collaborate, and problem-solve. These are all important skills, and ones that I want to develop … using technology or not.
A special thanks to @danikabarker, and her amazing podcast on this very topic. Listening to your podcast tonight inspired me to write this post.
How do you decide which tools to use, and why? How do you make it about the expectations, and not the tool? I’d love to hear what others think about this topic too.
Great post, Aviva!
I totally agree. Technology is never the answer, on its own. The factor that makes by far the biggest difference to students’ learning is the teacher – a fact that good teachers always knew, and technology marketers often appear to ignore.
The latest technology–whatever that is at a point in time–is a tool, a vehicle for teacher and students to communicate and connect with the subject, with other significant people, with other resources. Right now, tech includes iPads and smartboards. But in the future people will be saying “iPads aren’t the answer; we need new technology”. 35 years ago, OHPs were cutting edge, and touted as a way to totally change the learning in classrooms. Then, as now, excellent teachers knew how to put the latest technology to use in the service of connecting students and learning.
Thanks for the comment, Peter! I completely agree. I think that this may be one of the reasons that there’s so little research on the value of technology on actually meeting expectations. You really can’t separate the technology from the teacher.
I have always said technology assists in implementing the curriculum, it is NOT the curriculum. If it is ok with you I would like to share this with my teachers. What I love is student’s have choice and their ideas are respected. Thanks so much for your thoughtful post.
Thanks JoAnn for the comment! I completely agree with you … so well said! I would be honored if you share this with your teachers. Many thanks for all of your support!
Well said, Aviva! Great post. I completely agree and continue to build engaging lessons first that meet objectives of the curriculum with the assistance of technological tools. I think it’s important to teach children about opportunities to use a variety of tools, as you mentioned. Thank you for sharing the incredible things happening in your classroom!
Thanks for the comment! I agree with you too. It’s great to use technology to help meet curriculum expectations, but choice is so important too. So glad that you enjoyed the post!
Well said, Aviva (though I may be biased!). I think that a really good question we can ask ourselves is “Is this the best tool for the job for this student?” That doesn’t mean we have to provide a million and one choices, but it does force us to consider why we make the choices we make about how we teach. That sounds a bit jumbled and unclear but you’ll have to forgive me. It’s been a wild week!
I think this sounds great, Danika, and I really appreciate the comment too! Your podcast really got me thinking, and I have been thinking ever since.:) Thanks for helping me question what I do and why I do it!
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I definitely agree with your take on Technology in the classroom Aviva. It’s not about all technology all the time. It’s about blended learning and a combination of on-ground and on-line tools. It’s easy for educators to get “shock and awed” by social media tools and the wide array of technology that is growing exponentially but in the end it is always about the learning, with technology or without it. Great post Aviva!
Thanks for the comment, Thomas! I completely agree: it really is all about the learning … whether with or without technology.
I agree that great lessons can occur without technology. It is my expectation and hope that teachers consider all of the tools and methods for delivering the lesson and continue to explore ways of improving their instructional method. This must include consideration of technology. As Peter pointed out in his comment, “Then, as now, excellent teachers knew how to put the latest technology to use in the service of connecting students and learning.” It is not acceptable for teachers to assume that their lessons are perfect and can be trotted out there ad infinitum. Teachers must be lifelong learners. Their lessons might be improved upon with tech or non-tech means.
I completely agree, Dan! I love the last line in your comment: “Their lessons might be improved upon with tech or non-tech means.” As teachers, we need to be willing to continue to learn along with our students. Thanks for the reminder here of this too!