The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

A Digital worksheet is still a worksheet.

I have read what seems like several, but in reality is probably a few blog posts recently that have claimed to have examined technology in schools and found that it has made little difference in learning. Of course many of these speak in generalities lacking specifics other than there is technology and there is a classroom and they observed stuff. When it comes to technology too many believe that by dropping it into a classroom magic happens. Even the most ardent supporter of tech will tell you that does not, and never will happen.

I recently talked to an educator in higher education who told me that they had just put a pilot plan in place to explore the use of a tablet in the classroom. On the surface this sounds great. The possibility of a class full of tablets and students exploring, collaborating, creating, and publishing through a relatively intuitive and somewhat inexpensive means of technology was inspiring. I asked exactly how the “Pilot Project” was structured. (Here it comes, be prepared.) Two teachers were given tablets, one an iPad and the other another type. They were secured by some grant. The professors were told to explore the possibilities. That was the pilot. It began and ended with the purchase of the hardware.

The teachers were not trained in the use of the tablets. The teachers were not trained in the applications that could be applicable to their course. The class was not supplied tablets to use in the class. The teachers were not given any direction other than “try this out”. This was a pilot for frustration and failure. Of course the outcome is going to be that Tablets Do Not Work as effectively as the tried and true methods of Lecture and Direct Instruction.

I have read other posts that talk about textbooks being placed on iPads having the same effect as textbooks in paper form with the exception of being cheaper. Why would anyone expect digital text to be different from printed text? The idea of technology melding with textbooks is to change the dynamic of the textbook altogether. Create a medium where text can be retrieved, read, manipulated, and used for creation collaboration and publication of new ideas. Enable that created project to be archived for future reference or portfolio assessment. That is the potential of a digital textbook.

Analyzing the effect of technology in the classroom cannot be effective or dependable unless we examine the training, and understanding, of the teacher, as well as the creative and consistent application of that technology for learning in the class. Does the technology address the needs of lesson?

I also want to be very clear on this next statement. Technology may not work for every lesson in learning. There are times when it works well; enabling things to be done that would be less effective without it. There are also times where it may not fit. If the technology is being forced where it doesn’t belong, the result will not bode well for technology in the classroom. This must be a consideration. We can’t use technology for the sake of using technology. I must add that with the pace at which technology is evolving, there are fewer instances where tech does not offer better alternatives.

Of course the call from many, including educators, asks for limiting technology access. Often the argument is for more face-to-face interaction being needed by the youth of today. More and more in their world, our students are texting and using social media for their interaction. That is not something that adults can control.  What is foreign to adults in regard to technology is just another aspect of their life for our students. The control of technology is no longer in the hands of educators. We cannot decide technology use for our students. If our culture slows down or decides to NOT use technology than we can stop teaching with it. Realistically however, technology will continue to evolve and that is the world in which our students will live.

Learning about technology and its application may be uncomfortable for some educators, but it is a necessity for all students. Understanding what we need to know and do in order to implement these tools for learning is a big step that many educators, have yet to take. A technology-driven culture moves at a rapid pace as the technology continues to evolve at an even faster pace. We need educators to understand that technology is not changing what we teach as much as it is changing how we teach. With continual change, we will need continual professional development. This cannot be done effectively if we base decisions on flawed observations and misconceptions about technology’s place in education. A worksheet is still a worksheet whether the text is printed or digital.

Views: 73

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Leona Hinton posted a discussion

AI has never been so close

Dear colleagues,As an English teacher, I can not but share with you a brilliant and smart artificial intelligence tool that is going to be launched this month. Meet Emma, a self-learning authorship recognition tool that will revolutionize the world of education and academic writing. Everyone is welcome to test its beta version here http://emmaidentity.com/, just leave a request and you won't be disappointed. Has anyone already heard about…See More
Wednesday
Eileen Lennon posted a blog post

Wrapping up another year

I teach sixth grade, so I will be saying goodbye to my students in about a week. I'll see them in the hallways, but it won't be the same. They'll never be in my classroom again. That's weird to think about right now, when all I do is see them.It has me wondering; did I serve them as best I could? Did I impart all the wisdom I could into their little brains? Did I ignite a spark, or reaffirm a defeatist attitude?I have to be honest, there are some kids I won't miss. You know the kids I'm talking…See More
Jun 19
Stephani Shaw updated their profile
Jun 18
Christine Hinkley posted an event

OLC Collaborate - Arizona at University of Arizona

September 29, 2017 all day
We will work together to define and help shape the changing university! Join OLC in Tucson for engaging speakers and dynamic discussions revolving around the topics of virtual and augmented reality, gameful learning, access to education, and the future of education. Presentations will be followed by facilitator-led discussions to allow participants to delve into each topic in greater detail.See More
Jun 16
Ronald Thomas posted a blog post

How to Enhance your Influencer Marketing?

What is Influencing Marketing?Influencer marketing is a kind of advertising that underscore on utilizing key pioneers to drive your image’s message to the loftier market, instead of promoting straightforwardly to a substantial gathering of purchasers.To put in simple words, influencer marketing is just the activity of advancing and offering items or administrations through influencers who have the ability to affect the character of a brand.Why is Influencing Marketing Important Today?Though…See More
Jun 14
Ruth Herman Wells posted events
Jun 11
Teresa Conley liked Eileen Lennon's blog post So I accidentally blew up on Twitter last week.
Jun 9
Teresa Conley replied to Teresa Conley's discussion Getting the same technology for students in specialized classrooms as the gen. ed. classrooms in the group Special Education
"You are correct which makes this a even more sad situation. It can easily be said that the students with disabilities who are included in the general education classrooms do receive the same level of technology as their non-disabled peers. However,…"
Jun 9

Awards And Nominations

© 2017   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service