Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Distraction or A Catalyst?

The failure of pencil class

"As we provide our students with models of how to use their digital containers for learning, the role of the teacher will be more crucial than ever. The fact remains: These tools can be a major distraction from learning or they can be a major catalyst to it. It will be the courageous educator who works with students to explore the power of these tools and in turn empowers students to be lifelong learners and active shapers of a world we cannot yet imagine."

from "Banning Student Containers" by Alan November

There are a few things in this statement that really jump out at me. With the increasing amount of technology used for teaching and learning, the role of the teacher will not become less important but even more important. It is not the tool that shapes the instruction and thinking but it is how the teacher uses the technology and tools to guide discovery, understanding, and thinking.

As educators, it is our responsibility to create learning experiences. Hopefully in those experiences we can make technology tools be catalysts for learning instead of distractions to learning. Looking back on the ways I have used technology for instruction, I realize that the "flashy" technology stuff may be attractive at first, but if the "flashy" parts are not helping with the instruction, and possibly even distracting from the instruction. If distracting, then I have no need for the "flashy" stuff.

Everything I use for instruction should work toward the goal of student learning.

What are ways we can make the tools catalysts of learning?
What are ways we can be courageous educators to assist students in the exploration of the tools for learning?
What are ways we can empower students to become lifelong learners?
What are ways we can encourage students to actively shape a world we can't imagine?

I think we need to be developing students who are critical and creative thinkers.

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