Whether you have technology for your students, or you are thinking about getting technology for your students, “How will we, or should we, use our technology?” is an important question.
The answers to that question need to come from what we know about learning, more than what we know about technology. Recently, I have written about how we should focus on learning when we try to answer this question; that we should think about how technology has changed how students learn outside of school; and if we are having problems with our technology, that it might be that our vision for learning is lacking.
And I think it is important to articulate how we would like technology to be used in our classrooms partly because personal technology skill is not the same as teaching with technology skill. Because a teacher can use an iPad herself doesn't mean that she knows how to leverage that same iPad for student learning. Articulating how we might expect teachers to use those devices helps provide teachers targets for their own professional learning.
We are currently working with the idea that there are 7 powerful uses of technology:
- Tech for Foundational Knowledge: How can we help students learn the basics?
- Tech for Using Knowledge: How can we contextualize learning and make learning engaging and meaningful? How can students use their knowledge? What is the role for creating and creativity, and for project-based learning?
- Tech for Learning Progress Management: How do we keep track of student learning? Promote a transparent curriculum? Make learning progressions clear? Help students navigate their learning? Maintain evidence of mastery?
- Tech for Personalizing Learning: How does technology help us tailor the learning to the student?
- Tech for Supporting Independent Learning: How can technology help the student do more on their own and need the teacher less?
- Tech for Assessment: How can technology help us capture what students know and can do?
- Tech for Home/School Connection: How can technology help us stay better connected to parents?
Again, note the pedagogical focus, not a technology focus. In other words, the technology isn't the end or the desired outcome, rather the technology is in service to desirable educational outcomes.
How are you leveraging technology for each of these 7 uses?