Enhancing or Overwhelming? Technology in the classroom

Laptops, Chrome books, ipads, tablets, android devices, smart phones, music, minecraft, coding, blogger, wordpress… I could go on and on.  The possibilities are totally, completely, absolutely endless (and yes, I realize how many cliches I used in that sentence).

the evolution of the desk by the harvard innovation lab from designboom on Vimeo. Originally created by Best Reviews

Does technology in the classroom enhance learning?

Technology is developing and evolving at a rate that no one person could possibly keep up with.  Is it surprising that some would question the validity and effectiveness of using technology in the classroom?

While it is true, technology can have roadblocks within schools, and could potentially be mis-used, I believe that the potential benefits to students far outweigh the ‘roadblocks’.

As mentioned by Kyle, Erin and Jeremy, it is conceivable that technology can be used to enhance the learning space; however, it requires more than just placing technology within the classroom walls.  Effective planning, pedagogy and purpose need to come together to form “The Sweet Spot” in educational technology.  In order to be effective in this, implementation or knowledge of the SAMR model plays a huge role in assuring that this is carried out effectively.

We can certainly work to improve the way technology is implemented in some classrooms, the costly, time consuming key seems to lie in teacher training.  Teachers need to know how to use technology in order to feel comfortable in sharing that knowledge with their students.  The challenge with this remains, as mentioned earlier, that technology evolves and changes quickly, so without constant investment in professional development, there’s virtually no hope in maintaining the knowledge obtained in professional development.

If technology is a tool that is valued, but no money or time is put into it, where does the responsibility fall?  Should school divisions mandate professional development (at their cost)?  Should teachers be expected to spend their time and money on developing these skills?  Or do we (as educators)  wipe our hands of the responsibility and simply label it as something families are responsible for?

I strongly believe the last argument is a non-option.  We don’t get through the full depth and breadth of using technology effectively if we are not properly implementing use within our classrooms.  Many of the jobs of today may not exist by the time our students graduate, and missing the mark on technology will certainly leave students at a disadvantage for their future.

I believe we need to move into personal/professional development space, this should not be an option anymore.  I was recently at a technology conference where keynote speaker Sylvia Tolisano painted a stark picture when speaking of her new grand baby.  She discussed how her grand baby would likely be participating in the twenty-second century – if we are still working on our baby steps toward twenty-first century learning, we are failing our kids.

So what do I think? Does technology in the classroom enhance learning?  

The short answer is yes!  Technology absolutely enhances student learning – not only does it expand a students lens from a narrow perspective to a much more global perspective, but it changes the way people complete tasks, look for answers, and connect!

The deeper, more thoughtful answer requires more reflection.  It’s not a simple black and white answer.  It really depends on how the technology is used.  Is the sweet spot reached?  Do pedagogy, purpose and planning come together to reach the further areas of the SAMR model?  Is there money and value put into teaching teachers how to use the technology provided for their students?

 

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5 thoughts on “Enhancing or Overwhelming? Technology in the classroom

  1. Great points Amy. I think the bigger question involves how the tech is used to facilitate learning. The SAMR model was something that I hadn’t reflected on for a while but a good reminder in class and here as well. Thanks!

  2. I really like your point about how technology is always evolving so it requires teachers to adapt constantly. If you find a technology-inclined teacher it’s a safe bet to assume they have a growth mindset, simply because of the nature of technology.

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