All I have been hearing lately in education is about technology. Experts rave about new tools, districts spend money on 1 to 1 programs. Technology companies encourage teachers to earn prestigious titles: _____ Certified Teacher, ______ Distinguished Educator, _______ STAR Educator, or ____ Ambassador. None of these are bad things and I commend any teacher that has has worked hard to gain a title, often done to gain access to more resources for their students. As educators we need to shift the focus from just highlighting the use of technology but to how technology helps our students learn, grow and create. Education is about learning not about having cool toys. Technology needs to be infused into lessons so that it seamless. Our students don’t make plans to use their smartphones or computers, they just use them naturally. Similarly to how I used a pencil or a dictionary when I was a student. Teachers need to be conscious about the tool they use and how they tie into their students learning.
This Bloom’s chart from www.classroom-aid.com is one of many found on the web that show how technology tools connect to our students’ learning. Highly-effective teachers use technology, but they remember it is not about the tools that were used to learn but about the outcomes. When you read blogs, articles or go to a conference: look for statements that discuss products and learning outcomes from the use of a tool. After hearing about the learning then focus on learning how to use the tools in your classroom. Too often teachers focus on how to use a tool and fail to think about how it will help their students learn. Education is about learning not getting to play with the cool tools.
Many districts jump on the technology band-wagon, hoping it is the silver bullet for education. Buying computers for 1:1 programs or hiring “Technology Coaches”. 1:1 programs might be a good way to go but often teacher training is over looked. Just because it is in the classroom does not mean it is used correctly! 1:1 needs to be done slowly with a focus on student outcomes not tools used. “Tech Coach” title seems odd to me. Do we only want someone to come in and show how to use tools? Or someone to come in to show how the tools can help improve learning? Instructional coach seems like the proper title and takes the focus away from the tool used. Instructional coaches would then help infuse the technology into teachers learning targets.
With the ever-changing list of technology tools it can be hard but just remember to: