Every year I teach Educational Technology I feel myself pulled by several goals. I want students to develop practical skills for using technology in their classrooms, but I also want them to develop a critical eye toward technology. This tension is exacerbated by the fact that students in this class have a wide range of backgrounds. Some of the students are taking their very first education class and some are getting ready to student teach.
So, this semester, I am engaging students in one pedagogical aspect and one nature of technology aspect each day. Then, they have to apply those ideas immediately during class. I am thinking most days the students will be required to identify an existing lesson plan, then modify that lesson to incorporate the ideas we discussed that day. For example, when we discuss the notion of using more concrete representations of concepts I will introduce this idea by modeling how technology might be used to make things more concrete (e.g. a video, a model, a simulation). Then, students will go off into their own content (I’ll have elementary and secondary teachers as well as all the different disciplines) and seek ways they can leverage technology to create more concrete representations of abstract concepts. Finally, students will use our discussions about the nature of technology to critique both the original lesson and their own lesson. For example, when student learn that technology is more than just digital artifacts, they might notice that using tangible math manipulatives is a more concrete representation than the drawing program they initially chose.
Time will tell if this produces a more useful class. Here is the syllabus. Class starts at 9:30 tomorrow morning.