Technology is just a tool. What a great quote, by Bill Gates. I think technology can be driving force to change the education system. Technology has helped the education system to move with the times.
I love the picture below which clearly shows that technology has moved the education system forward, right?
The thought on my mind is, does technology change how we teach? Or is technology simply another tool for the children to show what they know? 20 years ago children were using paper, pens and books. Is my teaching any better any richer now that I use iPads in my classroom instead of paper and pens. Maybe it is a bigger question, maybe these technological tools will never truly “change” education.
David Perkins, in his book Futurewise, states that children have constant information at their fingertips in their “hyper connected” world and asks “what is worth teaching?” Do children need to be able to memorise facts they can simply “Google?” Does our education system give children an opportunity to really use the tools that they are messing around or geeking out with?
I agree with much of this picture from teachingquality.org. Technology is not a learning outcome, it is a tool, if used correctly it can be more than a tool. As educators we need to think about the big picture, changing our practice to work with the power of technology. After all:-
- Paul Salopek on his Out of Eden Walk is breaking down cultural barriers by using the power of technology to tell a stories. Without the use of technology it would be much harder to connect to such a wide audience and be so easily and quickly accessible.
- The work of learn out of eden walk connects children via social media accross the world. Children are taking a closer look at their local area by taking part in a walk. The children use social media in a respectful inquiry oriented dialogue. This project allows children to connect their own lives and understand bigger human stories and broader global issues.
- Technology allows us to have information at our fingertips. We have more access to quality and up to date information than ever before. Our role as educators is to teach children how to find the good information and disregard the bad.
- Technology can enable students and teachers to collaborate more. Google drive really has made collaboration much easier no matter where you are geographically. Padlet is a great tool for bouncing ideas around with in a group.
- Social media has allowed for a huge amount of connections through PLN’s for both children and teachers. This can save time and allow for further collaboration.
- Coding in educational settings is allowing for children to create new content for others to use and interact with. This is giving children options to create Apps that they need, when they need them.
In real terms here are some examples of how technology has aided my class’s learning.
- Tool : Kidblog Outcome: Start conversations and connections.
- Tool : Google Drive and Padlet Outcome: Allowes greater collaboration in planning, assessment, information amongst Grade 1 teachers.
- Tool : Bookcreator Outcome: Gives children a real audience to their writing, storytelling and voice.
- Tool : ShowMe’s through flipped classroom Outcome: Allows for more active learning in the classroom and learning at each child’s speed.
- Tool : A growing PLN Outcome: Creates authentic connections for the children.
I realise that this is just a beginning in my classroom, I want to keep pushing to create meaningful connections. I want children to raise awareness about issues that are important to them and to find answers to their questions. Children can change minds or views, take action and make a difference, this will bring about change. However they can not do this alone.
Teachers are still the most important people in education, teachers can change, adapt, guide and differentiate. Teachers understand the needs of all their learners in their classroom. The know where the students are and what they need to continue to grow. They understand the human element of their class and colleagues.
Technology is having an impact on teaching and learning but without teachers who truly understand how to use technology or educational systems that have been adapted to fit the technological advances; change will be difficult. Used correctly though, technology is more than a tool.