All too often we seek technological solutions to human problems. In gearing up for the Fall term I’ve been thinking about ways to integrate technology into the classroom and I realized that I was approaching it the wrong way. I should be thinking about ways that I can improve my teaching and the learning that takes place. The focus should be the learning and not which tools are being used.
As with the design of curricula and teaching in general, the first thoughts should be related to the outcomes and less about the tools. I want to be a better teacher, not a better technologist. No matter what classroom you’re in, there is technology involved, whether it’s paper and pen, a chalkboard, a whiteboard, data projector, mobile phone, or computer. But we don’t have fancy workshops or books about integrating whiteboards into your teaching or advanced flip chart use. A “smart” classroom is where learning happens, so it doesn’t even have to be a room or have a class.
It’s important to ask “why?” before a lot of time, effort and money is spent on setting up things that are never used. Whichever techniques or tools that you use for teaching have to be effective and appropriate for you and your learners. I love playing with the latest tools and being on the cutting edge, but if you’re leaving a lot of people behind, it’s not efficient or effective. So I am trying to think of ways to engage my learners and to use all of the tools that work for them. Ideally we can get out of me standing at the front of a room and talking and get into building spaces for learning.
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