I often read about teachers questioning the importance of technology in the classroom, asking whether or not it is part of a traditional or a progressive form of education. Asking whether technology actually has any place in the classroom at all. As you’ll probably guess from my Twitter handle, @ICTEvangelist, my blog “ictevangelist.com” and my book ‘Perfect ICT Every Lesson’ (Click here to view Kindle version via Amazon, priced £5.99) you can pretty much see where my thoughts lie.
The thing is, like every other teacher (at least this should be the case) I know that actually, the most important thing in education is about learning and the teaching that supports it. Things such as great relationships with students. Knowing what we are talking about. Encouragement of the students and celebrating their progress and achievements. We need to be a guide, mentor, feedback champion, questioning king and supporter of a student’s ability to fail, pick themselves back up, learn from it and move on. There are a plethora of books (Hattie / Dweck / Freire / Beere /great Elder) out there which talk of how we can develop and work with our students to bring out the best in them.
Documents such ‘The Engaging School’ (help showcase compelling case studies on how we can do this as well. Hattie says this too in his latest offering, “Teachers become more effective when they begin to see the learning process through the eyes of their students”. By being there every day, being involved, interested and focused on knowing our learners; giving them their feedback and saying hi in the morning and meeting them at the doorway and asking them how their weekend was. Asking them how they got on in their football match. Or how the trick or treating went. Or whatever it is that makes them know that for the next 50 minutes they’re in your space and they are there to learn with you about the most amazing facts and practice the most brilliant skills and make themselves a better person because of it.
Because of you… all those other skills I mentioned earlier about questioning, feedback, so forth and so on…they’re important too alongside all of these things. Very important. They’re essential parts to our teaching toolkit to ensure learning takes place. The thing is… technology fits in to that toolkit too. And like a compass in our pencil case, it doesn’t have to be used at all times – in fact, I’d wholeheartedly suggest that it isn’t. Who’d want to learn using technology all of the time? But it needs to be part of all of our toolkits.
In fact, I think, It’s about time we came up with a framework or toolkit for teachers. A digital toolkit. A list of key skills that all teachers should have in order to be able to engage in the learning mantra of a technologically aware classroom. One which has technology, not used for the sake of technology, but used for the benefit of learning. Just like we would hope that our teachers use proven frameworks and pedagogies to bring about great learning in classrooms, so we should use technological pedagogies to inform practice in the classroom. The quote from the start of this article comes from the ‘Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit’ from the section on Digital Technology.
Lots of the findings ring true and are based upon research:
?Effective use of technology is driven by learning and teaching goals rather than a specific technology: technology is not an end in itself.
?It is important to identify clearly how the introduction of technology will improve learning rather than assuming that new technology will automatically lead to increased attainment; technology without pedagogy is very unlikely to be effective.
?Technology should support pupils to work harder, for longer or more efficiently to improve their learning.
?Motivation to use technology does not always translate into more effective learning, particularly if the use of the technology and the learning outcomes are not closely aligned.
?Teachers need support and time to learn to use new technology effectively. This involves more than just learning how to use the technology and should include support to use it for teaching through professional development.
There are a number of pedagogies and taxonomies which we can apply to our technologically aware classroom…