What is the greatest challenge schools face using technology for teaching and learning? As a practitioner, the data I’ve collected both formally and informally suggests one of the greatest challenges is to use technology in ways that transform the teaching and learning process (as defined by the SAMR model). It is often easy for students to use technology in ways that enhance the learning process. For example, using presentation software to create a final product or using online software to develop specific content area skills (such as math). It is often more challenging for teachers to design learning that is transformational, where technology is embedded in the process of inquiry for learners to connect and collaborate with other curious minds inside and outside of the classroom.
While technology can be a catalyst for change, merely placing digital devices in the hands of teachers and students will not bring about transformation to teaching and learning. We need more than devices. We need new thinking that combines proven practice grounded in the learning sciences with current technology tools and the leadership to support transformation.
Just before the holiday break, I had the opportunity to speak to a gathering of about 30 Keystone Technology Innovators/Integrators at Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit. In the presentation, I proposed 3 ways educators can take action to move classrooms away from the culture depicted in the video The Testing Camera and toward the culture of inquiry depicted in the video A Question, Waiting to be Answered. Yes…every school likely has pockets of transformation. The challenge to overcome is transforming learning on a systemic level.
The 3 considerations I proposed:
- Inquiry – We have to fundamentally change the model from a push model of knowledge acquisition to one where student curiosity is a central focus and learning is a process.
- Social media – We have to use the tools at our fingertips that will allow our learners to engage with a world of like-minded inquirers. Social media coupled with inquiry is very powerful.
- Leadership – We educators need to take action. We need to stop talking and start doing. We need to be leaders in our schools.
Developing an understanding of effective pedagogy coupled with new technology and taking action to implement our new learning in the classroom will propel us toward transforming our classrooms system wide. For the presentation, I opened with a brief set of slides:
And then provided more resources and a few activities around the 3 considerations, working from this Google doc:
How are you working to transform your classrooms? Is there anything you would add to the 3 considerations? What are you doing to lead the change?