Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Bad Reasons to Use Tech: Faster Neater More Colorful

tech better
Bad Reasons to Use Tech: Faster Neater More Colorful

tech better

“The students are so engaged.”

This phrase drives me nuts. Anytime you do something new, the students will be “more engaged.” But is what we are doing “make learning better?” Does this last long term?

The first time students get to do their math problems on a device they may be “so engaged” but ultimately we are asking them to do the exact same task as they were doing on paper. Students taking the same problems from the book and writing out the steps onto a digital drawing surface does not improve the learning. Does this justify the cost of devices, the maintenance, the hassle of tech not working, the new classroom management techniques you have to learn, the PD time?

Check out Ronessa’s Desmos activity that allows students to explore trig functions not just graph them.

How Does This Make Learning Better?

Let’s ask the question. “How does this make learning better?” It is 2016, technology brings a lot of new possibilities that we want to embrace. It is also an opportunity to let some things go. What has technology made obsolete or practically obsolete? Technology is not going to be the savior of education if we are just using it to do the same things we were doing 20 years ago.

I did a lesson where students used Doodle Buddy app on the iPad to graph parabolas. We used the pile of poo sticker (it comes with sound effects) for plotting points. Were my students “so engaged?” You bet’cha. Did they understand parabolas better? No. How many times can you graph with a pile of poo before that gets old?

Let’s not let our student engagement be driven by never ending gimmicks. The novelty of a new program is a not a good enough reason to use tech.

Start with the 4 C’s

A good place to start when using tech is to think about the 4 C’s.

  • Clearly communicate ideas.
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Collaborate

How does the tech allow for students to better engage in the 4 C’s?

More Questions to Ask

How can students make choices?

How can I better differentiate for student interest and needs?

How can I be more flexible to allow the individuals I have in my class the time they need to understand and learn?

How can I use current and relevant events and data?

How can I connect my students to the world?

How can we collaborate outside of these 4 walls?

How can we do a project that integrates the learning objectives that makes the community a better place?

How do students have a voice in their learning?

Bad Reasons to Use Tech

  • Because it is faster than getting out paper.
  • It is more colorful.
  • It’s nifty.
  • It’s fun to use technology.
  • I do not have to use the copy machine.
  • Copy and paste.

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