Technology: A Catalyst for Learning

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Technology may not replace teachers, but teachers who integrate technology as a catalyst for learning will probably replace teachers who do not. Think about that for a moment.

During a recent chat regarding technology integration, a few tweets sparked my curiosity.

Relationships are number one in education. If used the right way, technology can connect people and be a catalyst for collaboration. – Tony Sappington

To me, collaboration seems to be the key to learning more than the technology itself. If you want to elevate learning, try connecting, discussing, debating, and developing ideas with other people anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s students collaborating with other students or students collaborating with experts in the field, the potential for authentic learning is significant.

Describe how you have used technology to go beyond your classroom walls and tap into outside expertise? If you can’t answer this question, you may be replaced with someone who can.

“Students never say they need professional development for technology.” – Scott Haselwood

As teachers, we get older while our students stay the same age. Therefore, we must adapt or become irrelevant! Effective technology integration is no longer an expectation, it’s required. No longer is it acceptable to limit our students to what one teacher knows and is able to do. Technology can connect us to civil engineers, doctors, architects, authors, meteorologists and judges who can supplement the textbook and make learning more authentic. To do this, teachers must take responsibility for their own learning rather than waiting for a few designated professional development days each year. Tom Whitby once said, “The biggest hypocrisy of the education profession is that the educators too often have become poor learners unwilling to leave their comfort zones to improve their learning. To be better educators, we first need to be better learners.”

What technology tool have you implemented that changed the way your students learn?  Describe the timeframe between the time you were introduced to this new tool and implementation. If you can’t answer this question, you may be replaced with someone who can.

The reasoning for technology integration should never be just “to engage students.” Jake Heister

Students may become engaged by scanning a QR code to access a digital worksheet. Students may engage in Minecraft and create a city that resembles the setting to an assigned novel. Either way… so what? It’s not just about engaging students, but more about the learning. Which comes first, the technology or the curriculum? In other words, we must never force fit technology simply because the tool is cool or engaging or any other reason than a catalyst for learning. The goal should be for technology to become more invisibly woven into the demands of good teaching and learning.

Describe how your students have used technology to raise awareness, start conversations, change minds, drive change, or make a difference? If you can’t answer this question, you may be replaced with someone who can.

As leaders, it’s our job to make sure we have teachers who can effectively answer these questions. Our students deserve it.

Something to think about, Shawn

2 Comments

  1. Megan said:

    The point about “Which comes first, the technology or the curriculum?” is an important one. For technology to truly transform education, we need to ensure that we are using it to improve student achievement using better strategies, not to simply add one more thing to the mix. Technology for the sake of generic engagement doesn’t necessarily further our learning goals, and technology in and of itself does not replace good teaching and good pedagogy.

    June 23, 2015

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