Going Beyond Engagement

23 Aug

We all agree – technology in the classroom is amazing for engaging students – it grabs their attention, raises their heart rates, gets the juices flowing – but for how long?

We know how short the attention spans of some of our students can be – the novelty of any new toy or tool wears off really fast, especially if the tools we offer in our schools may not be the most upadated version of what the students own in their own homes.  So engagement gets their attention at first, but how do we go beyond this and actually see improvement in learning?

The question is:  How can technology do for us, that the most amazing teacher has difficulty doing in the traditional classroom? What does technology provide that we can never do as well on our own. (let’s face it – technology is awfully expensive – we need to have the strongest argument for its inclusion in our budgets)

 I suggest the following list, although I am sure there are far more out there. 

  • it meets the students where they are (and isn’t that the basis of good instruction and DI?)
  • peer collaboration and feedback are easier (using tools like Google docs and online chats)
  • group work can continue outside of school (no worries about students living in different communities)
  • animations/simulations can solidify understanding of difficult concepts
  • increases opportunities for creativity – countless tools for this
  • wider range of tools for students to demonstrate what they know and can do rather than posters, ppts, and papers
  • caters to a wider range of learning styles
  • provides access to global resources eg Skyping with authors, scientists, world leaders
  • allows students to collaborate in creating resources eg wikis
  • opportunities to teach students about digital citizenship as this is where students are creating their online identities outside of school hours

Are there others?  Can you tell I am preparing myself for something?

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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Musings



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