Are New Tools Changing Teaching and Learning?

EQ: Have (and if so, how have) teaching and learning changed with the introduction of new tools?

This is a very good question. The answer to this question is both Yes and No. Yes, teaching and learning is changing when you consider that teachers are becoming less experts in their subject areas and more mentors. But No, because teachers are still a necessary part of the process.

Yes teaching and learning is needed for effective planning and guiding of experiences. No teachers are not needed to stand at the front of the room for every lesson and lecture.

I guess my point is that teaching and learning is transitioning from one “style” to another. That being said it isn’t a 100% switch. Teachers will still need to do things that are considered “traditional” at times, but the traditional system of teacher as expert standing at the front of the room lecturing even to young students will be less and less frequent.

Part of the reason for this is because educators are tired of seeing students not succeed simply because this system doesn’t work for them. Teachers intrinsically want to see all students succeed. To have a student who doesn’t succeed for no other reason but that the system is not ideal for them, is frustrating. Teachers in general hate that and try very hard to avoid it.

Education in some circles is moving away from one size fits all to everyone has their own size and we teach them what is best for them. I think that the tools that come with the introduction of technology can play a huge role in this. For example, a simple app Book Creator on the iPad and now Book Creator Web App on your browser are both simple apps that allow students to build resources for themselves to help throughout their schooling.

I have had classes use @BookCreator to create a math reference book. They started at the beginning of the year creating a page with each new math concept that they learned. The students would each create a page explaining the concept in their words, that they could reference in the future when they needed it. The first time we did this was with 5th graders but it could be started in any grade. This could absolutely be done to some level with a paper notebook. But the app allows this reference book to go into the modification level of the SAMR model, with the ability to add audio recordings and video recordings.

In this case technology is changing elements of teaching and learning. But at the same time the math concepts may be being taught in a traditional method. I think that the issues that many forward thinking teachers get frustrated with the time it takes to get schools to move forward in the ways that they can see a school should. This goes back to my previous post that teachers can be hesitant to change. I think that admin falls into this as well.

I think it is very important for schools wanting to move forward to be sure to vet new staff for the mindset and attitude that will allow this to happen. I can think of several teachers at my school that I would like to clone because of their attitude towards change. These teachers see change as a challenge that they want to face head on, but that they want support while doing it. Which is where I come in, my role as the ES Tech Integrationist is to help support teachers so that they can use technology. But it goes beyond that I am often times helping teachers see new ways to deliver lessons, collect evidence for assessment and plan for new experiences.

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