Technology. When the opportunity arises to implement some form of technology into your classroom, ask yourself for whom will it benefit? The teacher, or the student? Either answer is correct, but you have to be aware of the audience. If the use of technology is appropriate, then it could be incorporated as teacher-directed or student-centered. Sometimes, using technology would will not (gasp!) serve as a benefit. Technology can be superfluous and extraneous if pedagogy is forgotten.
I found this infographic from somewhere (totally not mine) and I recently posted it to Twitter, only to have received a well-acceptance of favorites and retweets. Yay. But why? What drew attention to this image? Was it the title? The information? The promotion of technology in the classroom? Rather than grasping hold to the latest trend, how often do we ask about the benefits of technology?
Having classroom teaching experience allows me to understand what it is to try new teaching methods only to have them not work as intended. I know what it feels like to have a teaching moment that you only wish to have captured on video. Teaching is ever-changing, and teachers need to be flexible to adapt. It’s okay to try something for it only to fail. If you don’t try it, you won’t know how to improve upon it. Why have teachers become scared to try? Not a rhetorical question. Let me know. I’m curious. What prevents teachers from taking risks in their teaching?
Regardless, don’t forget the essentials of teaching.
Remember the Fundamentals
While it is indispensable to incorporate current approaches to best teaching practices, it is also critical to remember the fundamental essentials of teaching. Fundamentally, many in-the-moment assessments can occur in the classroom without technology through strategies such as Gallery Walks, Save the Last Word, Tableau, 3-2-1, ABC, Character Charts, Word Clouds, and most recently T2T (Text to Text) to help students with their synthesis abilities. It is vital to make such teaching strategies cognizant because while it is important for schools to build in technology within learning and instruction, it is also of benefit to nurture verbal communication and team-building skills. Contemporary teaching includesaligning such strategies to CCSS is considered progressive toward 21st century learning. For instance, I designed a corresponding activity packet specifically for a recent 11th grade experiential learning field trip that intertwined fundamentals with the contemporary; students were able to meet each of the overarching CCSS of listening, reading (fiction and non-fiction), speaking, and writing while partaking in some of the aforementioned strategies. In this case, using technology would not have served as a benefit. If the use of technology is appropriate, then it could be incorporated as teacher-directed or student-centered. Technology can be superfluous and extraneous if pedagogy is forgotten.
Yet technology has ample opportunity to enhance pedagogy and standards alignment. Just ask yourself – for whom does it benefit, and how. And why this particular tool over another?