October 7, 2008 by Scott McLeod 12 Comments
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[a remake of an earlier post]
Yes, teachers should have a choice. Digital technology isn’t the goal, it is one of many tools that are available to facilitate learning. Good teachers can be as, if not more effective under a tree in a field with a good inquiry-based discussion as a mediocre teachers with digital tools. The better question is “In this day and age, can we allow teachers to have a choice not to engage students in questions that mean something?”
Barry, I agree and I don’t. Here’s what I’m worried about:
I’m on the fence on this one–I work with a group of wonderful teachers that are creative, thoughtful, and effective. I would consider most of them to be technovices. However, our administrator has seen fit to place at least one person on each grade level/content team to take the lead on technology issues and free the others to focus on their strengths. Every interdisciplinary project has a tech component, as do many of the tasks in the tech lead’s classroom. The teams are thoughtfully designed to promote all types of learning.
To teach tech poorly is also doing an injustice. My high school chem teacher wrecked chem for me because he was really a physical science teacher doing what the boss told him he had to for a year.
I understand where you are going with this but I think before this question can even be asked, we must ask whether or not we can create the best possible learning environment without the infusion of digital technologies.
If we can’t create the best environment without it, the question is not whether we should or shouldn’t. The question is how do we help get our teachers there because they must.
For your question as is, I would say no at this point because this still falls into the art of teaching given the lack of research transforming moving it out of choice and into the science of teaching.
Ryan, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills says you can NOT teach 21st century skills – and prepare students for a digital, global age – without technology. Obviously they have a certain bias. What say you?
To pose a question like this? I just rolled my eyes! OF COURSE teachers should be teaching using technology! Do you not encounter BORED students EVERY day. They no longer wish to be lectured to they need to be ENGAGED……they are completely wired outside of school…..and at the door we ask them to power down. Teachers need to prepare students for jobs that are not even created and we are going to do this without technology? I get so disgusted with this whole notion I could scream!
THE OLD WAY OF TEACHING DOES NOT WORK! People “assume” that we are critical of teacher’s and that they are not “good” teachers if they do NOT use technology. There are WONDERFUL teachers that are creative, inventive, engaging that create problem-based learning…no doubt about it however, if teachers don’t realize that kids are living in a world that is literally at their fingertips! WAKE UP!
Kids use skype, ipods, second life, cell phones, video games, facebook, myspace, gps….etc. etc. and teachers teach with lecture and paper tests? Not only will this not work for kids today it won’t work for them tomorrow either.
Problems…..FUNDING! Many schools can’t afford the most minimal of technology. However, meet the kids where they are….using their cell phones, ipods, etc. ENGAGE them!
Truly, it is no longer acceptable for teachers to have choices whether they infuse technology into their classroom teaching. It isn’t a matter of “I am already a good teacher” I am sure you are but to take kids to where they need to be they need to be technologically literate and if teachers are not modeling technology and engaging students with technology, are you really the most effective teacher you can be?
Follow—up…..The problem I believe, is that teachers view technology as an add on. I know this to be true for some teachers.
During my master’s program, my work involved working with a 5th grade classroom teacher. Back in “the day” she was getting a class set of emates. She spent the ENTIRE summer stressing about HOW she was going to teach with the laptops. She even spent the entire summer rewriting her curriculum to accommodate having the kids use this “new technology.” Do you see a problem here?
What was frightening to me was that she did not view the technology as a “tool” and I believe that most teachers are very like minded to this seasoned teacher. When we have students pull out paper and pencils do we think about the tool they are using to “get the job done?”
Just thought I would throw this out there….technology is a TOOL……no need to rewrite your curriculum or view it as an “add on” something ELSE teachers am being mandated to do. View technology as an opportunity and a privilege to be able to engage your students and have them yearning for more!
Although I do believe that many teachers can see technology as a tool, Joel expresses my concern…”To teach tech poorly is also doing an injustice.” If a teacher is incapable of teaching with technology but is able to use other means to create learning, this is acceptable to me. Hopefully, the entire building won’t be technology incompetent, thus integrating technology into learning (although not drowning in it). Our students will frequently lead the charge of tech-savviness, and that works too if we are comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s similar to Wikipedia or Flicker – let ’em build it…teaching and leading aren’t synonymous with being the “one” in the front. Teaching and leading with the group can be very effective, especially if you aren’t the most knowledgeable person on the topic.
Then why is it “Acceptable” that teachers are allowed to teach poorly with technology? So it is acceptable to NOT mandate teachers instruct with technology because they are poor technology users? Teachers need to be held accountable for how they teach. There are MANY poor teachers (technology and non technology using teachers) that need to be held accountable for the disservice of how negatively they are impacting their students.
Just because we have teachers that may have poor technology skills does not mean they should NOT be held accountable for that. And the “To teach tech poorly is also doing an injustice.” Are we teaching “tech” the majority of the time or are teachers using it as a TOOL as it is intended…..
People often reference technology as “teaching tech” when in reality, teachers are using it as a tool….did we teach about pencils too?
You have identified the key. It’s a tool that can be used. Do I need to mandate that a teacher use a forced choice worksheet at some point? Do I need to mandate essays? Do I need to mandate field trips? Do these need mandated across the board or as specific tools to individuals? It seems like an example of differentiation to allow and support teachers to teach in the manner most effective for student learning.
My thought is actually as you stated, “Then why is it “Acceptable” that teachers are allowed to teach poorly with technology?” I don’t think it is! I think it is unacceptable to force a tool on someone if they are capable without it and less effective with it. Most people, however, will benefit from technology, so encouraging it as a tool and providing for it makes sense. Mandating “use this” makes little sense to me. Sorry if I didn’t clarify my position well, Linda, but I think we are actually arguing similar (although not the same) points.
As for if we are teaching tech, sometimes we are (and if so, throw out the teacher above that is not using tech) and sometimes we aren’t. At my HS, sometimes the tech is the curriculum, but mostly it is a tool, and it’s a tool the kids handle better than the adults in general, unlike the pencil (which at some point I could argue we were taught to use too).
Teachers that do not understand the technology may do more harm. I believe that students are technically savvy but, they still need the basics. Who is going to teach them? Without a computer lab tech to help our students at the elementary level, technology is seen as an add on because of the time we put into teaching programs is excessive of our teaching time.
[…] I think it would be neglegent of a teacher to choose not to use technology in the classroom. http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2008/10/slide—should.html This slide poses a question that coincides with what I just outlined above. Let me reitterate […]
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