10 tech tools that will make you a super teacher!


Just kidding.

Because there are no tech tools that will make us super teachers. Pencils didn’t make us super teachers. Textbooks didn’t make us super teachers. Chalkboards and whiteboards and overhead projectors didn’t make us super teachers. VCR and LaserDisc and DVD players didn’t make us super teachers. Why should we expect computers and apps and online tools to do so?

Want to be a super teacher? Change what you do with students.

  • Do a learning audit. See how often students in your classroom spend time on lower-level thinking tasks (factual recall and procedural regurgitation) and instead create more opportunities for students to engage in tasks of greater cognitive complexity (creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication and collaboration, intercultural fluency, etc.). Find ways for students to live more often on the upper levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (or Webb’s Depth of Knowledge wheel) than the lower ones.
  • Do an agency audit. See how often your classroom is teacher-directed versus student-directed. Find ways to enable greater student agency, voice, and choice. Create opportunities for students to have more ownership and control of what, how, when, where, who with, and why they learn.
  • Do an authenticity audit. See how often students in your classroom do isolated, siloed academic work. Ask students how often they struggle to find meaning and relevance in what you ask them to do. Create more opportunities for students to engage with and contribute to relevant local, national, and international interdisciplinary communities. Foster environments in which students can do more authentic, applied, real world work in context. Help students become more connected so that they can begin to create active networks with individuals and organizations for mutual benefit.

There isn’t – and never will be – a set of tech tools that will make us super teachers. We need to stop looking for them and look inward instead.

P.S. Want to be a super teacher? We have a (re)design protocol for you.

Image credit: Superman, Dayna

Good luck with that

10 Responses to “10 tech tools that will make you a super teacher!”

  1. So you are saying that my laser pointer doesn’t make me even a little super? It sure makes me feel super. Maybe if I duct taped 6 of them together…each could be a different color and have different meanings. I could do an entire ISTE session on how it changed the education paradigm in my classroom. Except I probably can’t call it what it has always been known as, so maybe I would have call it the “Layzer System.”

  2. Thanks for this post, Scott! I agree that an inward focus is needed… I would add that the audits you suggest may have more validity if completed by someone other than the classroom teacher. It’s hard to separate what we want/expect to see with what we are actually seeing. Perhaps teachers can partner with each other to have these conversations. Our district is working with the county office to help us see what is happening in regards to agency and personalization. It’s been eye opening to see how teachers define agency, for example, as opposed to what we assumed it to be. Is choosing which worksheet to complete agency? Is it enough to give choice of topic but dictate steps to complete project? These types of questions are powerful when held by a small group working together to more deeply understand what’s happening, and it helps inform our work on a larger scale.

    • This is a great point, Laura. We’re using the 4 Shift Protocol (linked in the post) to help with some of these conversations. Allowing students to choose worksheets is technically ‘choice’ and ‘agency’ but is that really all we’re striving for?

      • Yes… thanks for the link to the Protocol. I plan on bringing it to our Instructional Services meeting in Fall. It’s such important work – glad we aren’t alone in the conversation.

  3. I would rate this your best column yet!
    (I was pretty skeptical when I read the title, greatly relieved to read the first line.)
    There are not enough people saying this. It needs to be said persistently until heard.

    • Robert,
      I agree. I wonder how we can get this message across to our educators. You are right when you say that it needs to be said persistently until heard.
      The principal can play a key role in getting this message across to teachers, but we need to get the message to them as well!

  4. I agree with you 100%. No tool will create a super teacher. It must come from within!

  5. Stop looking for them? No. Start using them properly. I teach chemistry and physics; two challenging sciences. Understanding in the topics covered is greatly enhanced with visual aides made possible through improved technology. I am a much better teacher, compared to my chalkboard years, thanks to the technology now available. Technology that makes science concepts so much easier to learn through visually enhanced presentations.

    One more self-audit for teachers: content knowledge.

  6. I feel, nowadays, it us more than enough just to be a teacher. It is superstational to think of an imaginary “rank” being “super”. Your contextis not like mine. Every teacher, if he is really a teacher, is unique and is doing a great job. In many cases, to be a super teacher, as you say, is to turn deaf ears to some issues. We lived the myth of mutple intelligence theory and learning styles. We idiotly followed when YOU said it WOW and will make teaching and learning super. Then we dumpped it idiotly as well when YOU told us it is useless and it is just a myth.
    The problem is that those who heard the first assumption didn’t have time to listen to the correction, so we , as idiot teacher , have to suffer satisfying idiot educaters just because they listen to what they want.
    Turn deaf ears and just try to be a teacher because being super can only be Supermarkets and Superstations.

  7. Nice hook,
    That’s exactly what most of us fool ourselves into believing: that digital tools will work wonders in the classroom, when it’s all about our approach to them.

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