The conversation on #satchat for Saturday, May 17, 2014 was about tech equity in our classrooms and schools. But as the conversation progressed it became clear that as professional educators we need to find our own place in education’s digital evolution. Here are some thoughts I took away from the conversation which may help all of us find our place in this digital evolution.
- Nothing replaces great teachers. All the automation, technology integration and digital resources in the world will not make learning more effective or efficient without great teachers. Students need the connection and examples great teachers provide. Great teachers also see the value of technology integration. Combine great teachers with effective technology integration and you have an amazing and dynamic learning for students. But before you integrate technology take a look at these essential questions.
- It’s not an all or none environment. Brad Currie, (@BradMCurrie), was spot on when he said, “Students should always be given an option to learn, collaborate, and create with and without tech. Differentiation is key”. We are a connected generation and technology is infused into our daily lives but we also need to learn from each other, person to person, and in small groups. Sharon LePage Plante, (@iplante), also hit on this topic when she said, “It’s not tech vs no tech… it’s about innovation in the classroom to meet the needs of Ss to prepare.”
- Don’t be limited to a specific device. There are so many options available to education and each has a place. Limiting your choices limit the possibilities. However, multiple devices do pose professional development issues. Jenny Grabiec, (@techgirljenny), made this point when she stated, “Negatives: Everyone is using different tools, apps, OS. Positives: Everyone is using different tools, apps, operating systems.” The point being that there are pros and cons and in the end it comes down to what works for you and your students.
- Professional Development is vital to the effective integration of technology in learning. Our learning as professional educators should never stop. However, the professional development should be of a high quality and demonstrate practical uses of technology integration. Many of the technology tools, software, and apps available are easy to use but how to do so in a way that improves instruction and learning is always the main concern. Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman) hit on this issue when he stated, “Many schools have a lot of tech but it is not being used properly or at all. Need plan, PD & support if it is to be successful.”
Finding your place in education’s digital evolution is not simple. It involves great teachers (and administrators), understanding the learning environment is fluid and can be effective with and without technology, not limited to a specific device, and solid professional development for all educators that is practical and immediately able to be implemented. Find your place and feel free to add to this list in the comments section.