Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wrong technology focus in the classroom

Wrong Focus: Teacher-Centered Classrooms and Technology 

An article I read in Leader Talk from Education Week discusses the idea how education is putting technology in the wrong hands.  Instead of teachers having all the "toys" and all the fun, we should be putting the "toys" in the hands of the students.  Aren't they the ones who need to learn how to use it?  Sure, it makes for a great lesson when teachers can use white boards and clickers but isn't it a better use of the technology to give the kids access to laptops so they can search and type their assignment?

I see this happening all the time.  The current theory is "let's give teachers this tool" but no training or not enough time to learn it.  So instead of the money being used to buy items for students' use, the money goes for something teachers don't have time to learn to use.  And in these current budget times, is that the best use of our limited funds?

Another comment in the article is about the theory that teachers have to learn how things work before they can give it to the kids.  I don't think so.  Kids these days can figure out technology way much faster than any adult I know.  And I get so tired of trying to undo a problem for a teacher who is trying to use a piece of technology or equipment and that teacher has no idea what to do.  I want to say, "Don't use it if you don't understand it!"

A wiser use of teachers' time is to design a better context for learning.  Then let the technology function as a support mechanism--as it should.  In other words, don't design a cool lesson for a powerpoint--design a cool learning experience where one option for a product is a powerpoint.  But don't make the focus of the lesson the technology--unless you are teaching a computer skills class!

What do you think?  Are we putting the technology into the wrong hands?

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