Encouraging active tech use a challenge for some schools
- Education Week reports on the shift from passive to active tech use in classrooms, providing a blueprint for teachers who want to meet the new U.S. Department of Education National Education Technology Plan, which calls for closing the “digital use divide.”
- Passive technology use means mere consumption of content and replication of activities that could have been done with paper, while active tech use allows children to use technology as tools for real-world problem-solving, hands-on creative work and collaboration.
- While the best-practice scenario — like giving students the opportunity to print 3D prosthetic limbs for real children who need them — is perhaps overly ambitious in all classrooms, teachers can move from consumption to creation with a focus on good pedagogy.
New technology has often been introduced in schools without the necessary long-term planning and training that should have accompanied it. SMART boards were notorious for being installed in classrooms (at great cost) and then used in the same way as the static blackboards that preceded them. One-to-one device programs have been ridiculed for the same reasons.
The best schools have phased in new technology at a pace based on their unique teacher population. Some have hosted grant-like programs where teachers apply for ed tech with a plan for how to use it, and only the best projects get funded each year. Other schools have been conscientious about professional development, giving teachers lessons on how to use the technology itself and then how to bring it into their lesson plans. In every successful case, proper planning has been key.
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