Better teaching through technology? Only with thoughtful preparation
- Research from the Yale Center of Teaching and Learning highlights the ups and downs of classroom tech use, including the juxtaposition of increased engagement from using familiar platforms for assignments and decreased motivation and grades from limitless internet exposure, eSchool News reports.
- Educators must ensure a cautious approach to tech use that doesn't make students overly reliant upon it to complete tasks and solve problems, using social networking and collaborative platforms as a means to an end rather than the be-all solution.
- Before adopting and implementing it, educators should consider how any given piece of classroom technology will improve studying, what the possible pitfalls are and how to avoid them, how it will help meet goals or close gaps, and how it will improve workflow, according to eSchool News.
Classroom tech is often discussed as a silver bullet for education that will solve problems and bring about positive results just by virtue of its very existence. This line of thinking, of course, overlooks the obvious need for educators to be comfortable with the tech and have plenty of preparation with it ahead of its implementation — assuming it's truly the best fit in the first place.
As Scott McLeod, an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Colorado Denver and the founder of CASTLE, previously told Education Dive, the most important question administrators should consider when buying tech is how it will empower students to do amazing things that make a difference, noting, "I get a lot of puffery but rarely an answer that causes me to lean in and ask more rather than raise a skeptical eyebrow."
Ultimately, the real digital divide may be more around skills than the devices and platforms themselves. Students must learn how to apply critical thought to traditional text-based content, as well as the skills to discern what is and isn't a reliable source online. Instruction that presents students with real-world situations and requires them to develop a solution using tech as a tool rather than a medium for passive consumption is also critical. Tech won't fully serve students if it simply transposes the traditional way of doing things to a digital screen. And these new formats require investment in teacher training that supports adjusting pedagogy to take advantage of new approaches that impart new skill sets.
- eSchool News Edtech is booming-but does it make better teachers?
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