Maybe you’ve been confused by the following debate…
Is the interactive whiteboard or newer technology like the interactive projector wasting tax-payers’ money ?
Should we buy tablets or iPads for students instead of interactive whiteboards because of the myth of so called “student-centered learning” ?
So…What really matters in 21st century classrooms ?
A very good article from Jason T. Bedell is what we like to quote to discuss about educational technologies here : What’s the point ? Jason is an education consultant now. Throughout his career, he has been a professional development coordinator, IT coordinator, and technology trainer.
Technology is changing every aspect of life and schools need to stay current. Technology can allow for a great depth of learning that may be difficult to attain without it. Technologies can make a difference in education in the following aspects.
- True Differentiation
- Equality of Access
- Authentic Audiences
- Promote Digital Literacy Skills
- Assistive Technology
Ideally, a technology-infused classroom should be allowing the students to participate in the learning process and, therefore, be more engaged. Greater engagement leads to greater understanding and retention. But there are definitely many moments that students need to quietly listen to directions or explanations from teachers, while the interaction between the teacher, contents and students can be more dynamic through technologies. So both teacher’s device (for example, interactive projectors) and student’s device (for example, tablets) are crucial.
But as you see the significant pedagogical changes that technologies can make, without teacher’s development it’s not possible. Actually, it is unrealistic to drop off any technology and expect teachers to know what to do with it, both technically and pedagogically. It will be a poor investment that spends millions of dollars on technology and nothing on training. Also, technology cannot be introduced to students without teaching them responsible and proper use. Teachers are the important designers in classrooms to enable learning paradigm shift through technologies.
Therefore, we like to quote the slogan of the other blog by Kristen Swanson : Teachers as Technology Trailblazers. If teachers can’t fully utilize the digital power in their daily management and knowledge processing, both interactive whiteboards and interactive projectors will work as expansive projectors only. But if teachers themselves live and grow with technologies, only with proper teacher’s devices they can enable the teaching moments.
Talking about teachers as technology trailblazers, Kristen herself is absolutely a model. She is the technology director for Springfield Township School District and also a professor of educational technology for DeSales University. She also maintains a wiki to organize useful technology resources. Again, she’s another blogger who shares so many free resouecs for teachers, both in teaching and learning.
In summary, the successful technology integration needs many aspects to be taken in consideration properly : teacher’s device, student’s device, teacher’s professional development, infrastructure (internet access for everyone is simply a must), flexibility of accommodating into all needs and cost to share and accumulate the intelligent asset created by teachers ….. Don’t you think we need to DO MORE WITH LESS ?