Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If It Isn't About Pedagogically Sound Practices, Using Technology MostLikely Isn't the Answer You're Looking For

"What are the biggest mistakes teachers make when integrating technology into the classroom?"
Since my grade one and two students are 1:1 with iPads, I am always looking for better ways to use devices for learning.  Along the way however I have seen a lot of less than ideal ways to use technology in the classroom. Here are some examples.  
1) I am still surprised to see people creating PDFs as a way to make their classroom paperless, when little thought has been given to the quality and purpose of the content going "digital.” If a worksheet was not in line with the best practice without technology, how does it suddenly become best practice with technology. Replacing paper with expensive devices is just something I can't wrap my head around.
2) I often read about people who are trying to use technology in their practice to make their lessons more "fun".  Last time I checked you don't need technology to have "fun" lesson. All lessons should be engaging, meaningful and delivered in a way that students have fun learning.  Pretty quickly technology will lose its fun factor if good teaching doesn't prevail.
3) A lot of people who use technology expect every child to use it the same way.  While yes, I am in a 1:1 iPad environment, my students still have choice and they are never required to use technology to learn if it isn't the best way for them.  When technology becomes the only way for a student to show what they know we have another problem.  And far too often there are way better ways for children to learn.
4) Some teachers rely on technology as a drill and practice device instead of using it to its full potential as a creation device.
5) The biggest mistake I see with the integration of technology is teachers who are not taking full advantage of what their devices can do and how it can positively support student learning. I am thinking specifically for those children who have trouble learning in "traditional" ways.   iPads can help read to a student, change spoken word into written text, increase the size of letters, help with text predictability.  There are so many other great accessibility features that can help support pretty much any struggling student. They can and should be used to break down barriers and help allow every student be successful with their learning.  If you have learners who are challenged in one way or another please get to know what your device can do to help support your learners.
So while I truly believe technology can transform learning, it must always be superseded by pedagogically sound practice. Utilizing technology with purpose in mind can lead to new and innovative ways for students to learn. It is important that we are looking for better teaching and learning practices when we integrate technology into our classrooms.

*This post is part of a series of monthly questions that Cathy Rubin is asking several education bloggers to respond to.  This month's question was "What are the biggest mistakes teachers make when integrating technology into the classroom?" It is an honour to be a part of this group.  Please check out the complete list of posts here. 

The Global Search for Educations: Our Top 12 Global Teacher Blogs - What are the biggest mistakes teachers make when integrating technology into the classroom?

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