Student technology integration

My district is putting forth proposals to, at some distant time give each of our students a laptop computer. Obviously, the expectations for using these will be high, and many people will resist such a change – yet the change will come. It is just another way that the technology drives our decisions, rather than our decisions driving technology use.

While I am quite technologically savvy and implement technology in my classroom heavily, I have embarked on an experiment to integrate student technology use into my everyday teaching. Many teachers have integrated teacher technology poorly – just dazzling up traditional instruction. I fear that this problem will be even worse once the push is to get students using the technology more and teachers will just put their worksheets online to be filled out….AHHH!

So, with the student technology integration, I am working to understand how technology like a laptop might be used to replace, or even add to my conventional use of things like class journals. While I am not replacing the old, I had students today put their “bellringer” into their blog. Because I subscribe to each students blog, I was able to read them as they posted.

Some issues I had to consider:
1) reviewing from the day before will not make a good bellringer – I had to ask a synthesis focused question because the students had facts at their fingertips (I try to do this anyway, but today was especially important as I did not want the activity to become a “fact hunt”).

2) Students would finish at very different times. I had to have additional meaningful activities for students to engage with when done with the “bellringer”.

3) Technology craps out on you. Some of the computers took so long to boot, or never allowed the student online so they were basically not able to complete the activity. To counter this, as I counter students not understanding the bellringer question, I am sure to discuss the students’ ideas as a class.

We must not let technology modify our understanding of good teaching. Good teaching will always have a crucial teacher role. If we use technology to replace rather than augment our teaching, we are serving technology, rather than it serving us – and we only quicken the pace at which we will lose public education.

So I embark on this journey to figure out how to keep technology as my servant rather than my god. And we will likely need God’s help to prevent/reverse this paradigm shift.

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