Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Place your bets: A thought about technology in the classroom

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I am all for teachers trying new ways to make connections in their class by using available and engaging technological tools.


At some point, your connection may be slow, the power may go down, your battery runs out (and you forgot your power chord, etc.

These are the moments that highlight which teachers are putting the cart before the horse.  It is not about the tools.  What matters is the learners.  Your connection to them should never be as limited as an image on a screen, a comment box under a blog post, a search result, etc.

Those rarely change and have no ability to adapt to the needs of the learner.  That video you rely on to "teach" the lesson isn't paying attention to the reactions of the students.  It can't stop itself and hold an unscheduled discussion of an issue that suddenly and obviously hits a nerve.  The video just plays, unaware of the response it receives.  A search for "Thomas Jefferson" will yield the same basic results each time.  It isn't concerned with the context in which the search is being made.

Again, this is not intended to be a condemnation of technology in the classroom.  Current and future technologies have the ability to enhance a critical element to engagement and success in the class - the relationship between professional educator and student.

The problem is that when teachers willingly (or unwillingly) abdicate the responsibility of forming those relationships and begin relying on technology to be more that a tool to enhance the relationship, they are betting on something other than themselves to achieve what they, the teacher, is ultimately going to be held accountable for - students' learning.

No one is going to blame the computer or the Internet when your students feel less than supported by you and demonstrate this feeling with less than expected results.

Integrate technological tools to enhance the experience.

Bet on you to deliver the goods.
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