We’re having a great conversation in 401 – asynchronously – about the use of different types of technologies in school. Some of my teacher-students are opposed to the idea of students having access to laptops or cell phones – seeing it more as a distraction than a benefit to their students.
Here are some of my thoughts:
Problem: If they’re [K-12 students] looking at the computer screen they’re not listening to the teacher.
Me: Why should they be listening to the instructor?
What I’m hearing is teachers focused on a teacher-centered approach. What about designing instruction that is student-centered, giving them the instructions, and letting them go at it?
If you’re [teacher] talking, then it’s before they open the laptops.
Think carefully about what this generation of students will have to be doing in the future … are you getting them ready for the 20th century or the 21st century?
Now I was a doodler in class – all the way through graduate school. I got really good at drawing sailboats and 3-D boxes. Isn’t that what our students are doing when their minds wander when they’re in front of a computer screen? Just because they’re not on-task 100% of the time we’ve allotted, does that mean that they are not learning or engaged?
One student confessed that she let her mind and fingers wander on her laptop when her focus was supposed to be elsewhere. I still doodle, now it’s called solitaire … but it’s amazing what thoughts come up while I’m playing and letting my mind wander with my fingers.
The issue, as mentioned in my original post in the 401 student discussion area, is the focus of our teaching. It’s hard for us to envision doing things differently from what we know and are comfortable with. There are plenty of teachers using technologies and teaching the same way they’ve always taught. The chalk board has turned into a Power Point presentation.
The key is looking at your basic philosophy of teaching … what are the ultimate skills/attitudes/aptitudes you want your students to leave your class with at the end of the year/term?
Going back to the doodling with paper and pen/pencil
… if we have a problem keeping our students’ attention, it’s not about the technology.
New technologies … new ways!