Friday, June 8, 2007
Is it about technology?
These are good questions and should be asked about any activity that involves teaching students.
Waste is inflammatory, but catches attention. Student learning is at the center. There are many things that provide non-ideal situations for learning. (Planning to have students do a science journal by drawing their learning and typing a sentence on the computer... only to have the power go out without saving or printing.)
Well I would ask the question - did the students learn? Yes, they did. They accomplished their journal, they did the reflection and learned to save when working with technology.
While computers have been in schools for 25 (ish) years, there are still students that could graduate without being Information and Media Literate. Students don’t have to be using a computer 5 hours per day, not even 1 hour per day.
Students need to be using technology as it increases their current and future learning.
There are times that technology is not the right answer.
I remember doing a project 5 years ago with laptops. We were studying the Yanomami of the Amazon. Students were to create a persuasive video for why they (as UN field workers) should help this indigenous people.
After about a week we had some partially done on laptops and some video footage, but the connection with the content had already been achieved. I scrapped the post-production and completion. They had already done the learning - cooperatively planning, scripting with curriculum connections, acting, practicing and taping.
When it became about using a laptop and making a movie, it was no longer about learning.
I learned and so did my students. While their was some disappointment, the students learned that their learning was the focus .