Technology in the classroom

I love to learn, so I’ve been having a great time reading all sorts of stuff that I found from Soft Skills Convention and the various other education style blogs I read.

First up, I listened to a discussion about the 1:1 initiatives by some schools to get each student access to a laptop or computer. The main question was Is 1:1 enough ….

Is 1:1 enough…to change a teacher?

Is 1:1 enough…to change a classroom?

Is 1:1 enough…to change a school?

Is 1:1 enough…to engage/empower/enlighten students?

Is 1:1 enough…to get politicians off our backs?

Is 1:1 enough…to move education into the 21st century?

I’m thinking to really address this issue, and why technology will never be enough to change more than the medium of the instruction (on its own, at least), we need to understand the idea of pedagogy and what issues are foundational to all aspects of pedagogy.

Here is a quick and dirty version of what I’m thinking:

The idea is that your ‘educational philosophy’ will provide the foundation, the basis for everything else you do. Your assumptions of how students learn will affect how you chose to teach. In the same way, your assumptions about how to teach and the best way to go about instruction will directly influence how you structure a lesson, how you write objectives and what students should learn.  Your methodology, materials and media used in teaching will come from how you structured your lesson, what your objectives are, what you decided students should be learning. I’m not committed to this specific ordering, I spent about 2 minutes drawing this in paint and thinking about it. I would love to dialog about what is dependent on what. However, I am confident that technology, outside of programming and computer science and such topics, fits into that top box: methodology, materials and media. The question of  ‘are students learning what we want them to learn’ fits into those bottom two boxes. Giving students access to computers, the internet and technology might make the class more fun, might even make reaching specific objectives easier, but it won’t change ‘are students learning what we want them to learn’.  
Yet, when technology is talked about, its always about making it so that students will learn what we want them to learn. Its talking about using orange juice to make the oak tree grow the direction you want it to grow. Its like putting a bow tie, spectacles and a sport jacket on a dog and calling him a professor and hoping to learn math from him. Alas, I rant.
I think you’ve got the idea, reader, or at least I hope you do. Again, I’d love to dialog about these topics.
Other reflections on soft skills coming, but laundry calls to be folded at this moment. 😛
PS pls forgive grammatical errors. I’m in a hurry 😦
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2 comments

  1. I agree. Math has already had a small taste of technology thrown at us and it making little or no difference if the teacher is not prepared. Look at graphing calculators. They have greatly altered the way I teach and the material I teach for the better. However, this is not true in all classrooms. I still see teachers teaching the same, old way and using the graphing calculator as a glorified (and expensive) calculator. You can't throw technology at a problem. Teachers are the determining factor in a classroom.


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