- When students are truly engaged, they are motivated by an intrinsic desire to learn, not simply because they want to get a certain grade, and instructional technologist Eric Patnoudes writes for Ed Tech Magazine that achieving that doesn’t have to depend on tech.
- Patnoudes says reaching the point of true engagement requires assignments that challenge students at an optimal level for their abilities, and it often comes because of authentic and relevant activities.
- He recommends teachers focus first on creating these conditions for learning, then thinking about bringing technology into the equation, and suggests professional development initiatives should have the same priorities.
The multibillion dollar educational technology market has created a sense of pressure on teachers to incorporate new tools in the classroom. The idea that a changing economy requires tech literacy for any level of post-secondary success is also pervasive. But schools that rush technology without the teaching pedagogy to support it are doing a disservice to students. Already there is a gap in the way students from high-performing high schools use technology in the classroom compared to the way students from low-performing high schools do so. In many ways, a shift has occurred from focusing on the digital access divide to the digital use divide.
Administrators can ensure students in their schools are getting the most out of technology initiatives by preparing teachers to incorporate active tech use in their classrooms. The key is creating opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible without technology, rather than replicating traditional activities that used to be done on worksheets.