But technology today is mobile, and it is social, and it is networked. We need to rethink, reimagine how technology can enhance learning — through collaboration and connectedness, for example. We cannot simply use newer technologies to make old practices of lectures and worksheets digital. That’s not enough to transform school. And as the NEPC report highlights, that doesn’t work. And it doesn’t work, in part, because we know that those practices aren’t the best analog pedagogy either.Clickers. Apps. Multiple choice. Videos of lectures.
Clickers. Apps. Multiple choice. Videos of lectures.
But with such a huge push to use technology in education-- they are comfortable. Easy. They digitize the model of education where the teacher is the sole purveyor of information. Where we are the sole individuals who can answer the ultimate questions (or at least those on the tests we make).
But What About Formative Assessments?
Sure formative assessment is great. Strike that, MEANINGFUL formative assessment is great.
But why are we shooting to make multiple choice ubiquitous? And yes, I understand that getting formative data back to teachers rapidly is important, but to what end? If it is so teachers can craft better multiple choice questions then by all means, have at it, but don't tell me this is personalizing learning or an example of a meaningful use of technology worthy of such a huge investment.
If this is what the call for more technology usage in classrooms is about- multiple choice, algorithms and "personalized" video lectures, then the profession is embracing a model that can and will replace educators.
But, it does not have to be this way...and it should not be this way.
I would implore educators who are looking to use technology meaningfully to do so in a way that helps you do what Google can't. Use technology to explore the previously unreachable. Search and learn with, and from, students about questions you don't have the answers to (even if it is not on the exam). Connect students with experts, other than yourself, from around the globe. Identify and solve problems that exist now, not in a carefully crafted scenario.
Most importantly, take back what it means to personalize learning- use the unique knowledge that you have about your students' lives to craft instruction, assessments, and experiences that have personal and intrinsic value to students. Use data to identify, harness and build upon students' strengths, not just weaknesses. Finally, use technology to share the amazing, personalized work students create with the school, community, and the world.
Then technology and people will have transformed "school" together.