It is probably a trend for teachers to incorporate all sorts of technological tools in their classroom mainly due to their novelty rather than their effectiveness in achieving the lesson’s objectives. I once listened to a “tale” on how a teacher would amaze his students by showing a physics game on his iPad, claiming he has brought changes to his classroom. In fact, it was rather surprising that most students were more interested on the iPad that the game itself. They kept asking the teacher where to get free iPads, since a large majority of the students can barely afford to buy a mobile phone. In situation like this, a normal notepad can be a more effective tool than the iPad!
Technology itself cannot teach. It’s up to the teachers to decide when, where and how to use it to maximise learning. Well, I was browsing through Kelly Tenkely’s blog when I discovered she has also shared her thoughts on the same topic in an article which she has written for TheApple.com. The following is the first two paragraphs of what she has to say:
This may seem like a strange title coming from a technology evangelist and integration specialist. But it is true, it isn’t all about technology in classrooms. Don’t get me wrong, technology can and will do amazing things to increase student learning, differentiate instruction, and meet students where they are. Understand, technology alone can’t do this, it isn’t the golden ticket that when plugged in solves all educational problems. I see many schools who purchase the latest-and-greatest technology, software, and infrastructure only to have the technology collecting dust a few years later when it didn’t solve the education problems of the school. This isn’t the technologies fault, it doesn’t mean that the technology has failed to deliver. What schools often miss is that it isn’t really about the technology at all. There is a foundational level that needs to be addressed in schools first.
Many classrooms still look the way they did in the 19th century. The teacher is at the front of the classroom giving students facts to memorize, rules about grammar, math, and science. The role of the student is to take it all in, memorize, and regurgitate the information back in the form of an essay, worksheet, or test. The teacher marks up the student work, puts a grade at the top, and returns it to the student. The process repeats itself as the teacher works to squeeze in all of the curriculum before the end of the year. Technology can’t improve this learning environment. In fact, technology will feel forced and unnatural in this classroom model. Technology invites students to problem solve, create, think critically, and collaborate. The focus is not on memorization and testing but on discovery and creativity. In this classroom model, technology may be used to replace the chalk board with a PowerPoint presentation. This may be more visually appealing, but it doesn’t change how students are learning. The teacher is still the center of the classroom and students are still taking it all in and regurgitating back on worksheets and tests. Learning hasn’t really changed so the results continue to stay the same.
Read the full article here.