In the course of my job I was recently interviewed by an educational department of a company that writes its own magazine. At some point a person asked me if the students, as “digital natives,” were more engaged by teachers, the “digital immigrants,” who were now using technology to teach them. A leading question you say? Well, sure.
But can we talk about what every teacher should be saying to that type of question?
That as professional educators, teachers who understand the art and science of instruction, we must create substance to the learning that does not just rely on the cache, the novelty of the technology being used as the tool.
Do otherwise intelligent people believe that by solely adding technology to a lesson the content is transformed?
Possibly so. I often see IWB used to display worksheets, scans or recreated in MS Word. Other schools with iPods only using them as glorified flashcards. And computer labs can be turned into drill and kill factories for reading/math software programs.
I think the fact that people are willing to try the technology is a positive. If they are trying anything at all, I believe they can be helped to integrate technology correctly. I think there is a certain trial and error learning curve that needs to be expected in these introductions to classrooms. I also will tell anyone who listens that unless classroom teachers are given support, in the form of time and materials, why would they change?
So, matching the technology to the task becomes of paramount importance.
Consider that different schools often have different resources. These resources include the hardware, sometimes the software/infrastructure, and the most covert element is the leadership. I say the leadership is most covert because it is just one person, that can change and can grow into his/her position, but drives not just the management of the physical resources, but the management of the element of time.
How about we engage our students through good teaching? Lets engage our students in the process of learning; that could be with or without technologies.