I firstly need to clear something up… Technology has always been used as a teaching tool. Eg. papyrus, slates, blackboards, overhead projectors (remember those? – Many teachers still use them!). Technology is dependent on what we know and understand at the time. Just because we have access to laptops, iPads, interactive whiteboards/projectors, mobile phones etc now, does not mean that technology in the classroom is a new idea. We’re just using different technology that has been used in the past.
Of course I’m specifically talking about computers, tablets, mobile phones and any other modern device you might be able to think of.
If we are not allowing/using at least some of these devices in the classroom as a part of learning then I think we’re disadvantaging our students.
Perhaps that’s a big statement to make, as there are many excellent teachers in schools teaching without using this technology, however I struggle to think of any jobs that does not require the use of this type of technology at some point.
I’m not talking about using these devices for word processing or simply publishing their work. We are beyond the age of typewriters. Teachers and students need to use these devices to be creative! Rather than sitting at a desk and writing by pen a draft story to then be edited before being typed up on a computer, our students could be writing and editing on the computer (that’s what they’re for). Or the student might not ‘publish it’ as a written story at all. Perhaps they will video themselves reading their story and share it on YouTube? Or maybe they will share it through an animation site?
When used to the full potential, our students are able to be creative and innovative and share their ideas they’ve come up with or created using technology, with a wide audience via the internet. They can receive feedback from this wide audience on their ideas/compositions/whatever they’ve done – both positive and negative – and can use that to learn and to improve on what they have done. It’s not just limited to feedback from one teacher, or their classmates.
There are so many tools available for students to show off their creativity, their innovation, their brilliance – both online or through apps and other software. Many of these tools are free! Yes, teachers will need to learn about some of them, but perhaps once some carefully thought through transfer of skills has occurred, our students will firstly learn to find new tools that suit their needs, and some of our students will create tools that suit their needs for others to also use!
If schools and teachers do not allow technology into their classrooms, we’re going to remain stuck in an age that the rest of the world is well beyond.
I know there are many many things that teachers and students can do using these devices that I have not mentioned – enjoy discovering them! And yes – many schools are embracing technology in teaching and learning. I think you’ve taken an exciting and needed step. Will it take time, patience and effort? For sure! But I truly believe it will be worth it.