The Beauty of Technology BEDUC566 Final

Why support learning with digital tools?

Education at times can be a linear learning tool. You have a book, you read the book, and then you write a paper on the book. A lot of the time you stay in the same level of task difficulty. Sure when writing a paper, you can be creative, but there are only so many ways to be able to write a paper. This is where teachers can get creative. Teachers have the ability to introduce students to different forms of digital tools. There are millions of different apps and websites out there to help support learning digitally.

The way of the future looks to be going through technology, so why wouldn’t teachers want to ingrain technology into their teaching. Technology helps to reach out to all different modes of learning and different types of learners. It elevates the boring 5-page essay into a new way to meld thoughts with images. And like much of teaching, if you have a crazy idea of how to use technology, it has probably already been done somewhere.

Sure, some people will tell you that technology can be scary, however, just because something scares you doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it on. The thing with supporting learning with digital tools is that you have to be smart. As teachers you have the ability to teach students how to be safe with technology. Teaching is how students learn. If you were to just supply a student with an array of digital tools you run the risk of them using them improperly which could lead to trouble for them. Taking the time to teach internet safety will benefit in the long run.

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School also allows for equity issues gap to be closed. Schools with technology have the opportunity for everyone to experience and use technology. So many students do not have sufficient access to technology in our country, so as a schooling system we must ensure that students are prepared for the future and understand how to use technology. Equity is a huge issue and closing that gap at schools could help to increase achievement for struggling students

Why Not Support Learners?

The naysayers are out there, and at times this quarter I have been one of those very naysayers. Technology still scares me from time to time. It is scary to me that you conceal your identity and it is out of your control as to who you can connect with. Another reason I find to not using digital tools to support learning is that you don’t want students to become solely dependent on technology. Technology can fail and you want students to be able to live in a world without it.

When does technology help us to serve diverse learners?

Technology helps us to serve diverse learners when we are able to enhance the access to the learning material. Technology should serve as a tool to bring the lessons in the classroom to the students. Teachers must be thoughtful in their choosing of technology and ensure that it fits the needs of their students. So often I feel like teacher’s figure that any type of technology can help students, but the tech must be purposeful, which often means teachers needing to spend more time researching and practicing with the tools to make them worth using.

When does it not?

Tech serves zero purpose for diverse learners when it does not fit their needs. It sickens me when teachers don’t take the time to do research for their students. Throwing technology at a student isn’t necessarily going to help to negate their difficulties. If diverse learners are not supported in their use of the technology then it is not only wasted time, but is also a wasted opportunity for the student. Diverse learners, often students with learning disabilities, need to have accommodations to make their lives at school more functional. What they don’t need is for their educational lives to be made harder. Truly the technology that is used in school should be able to be brought to the rest of their lives as well.

What are your thoughts on the potential for connecting, creating, collaborating for teachers and learners?

Collaborating: Google docs has been the forerunner in this department allowing for multiple people to be on the same sight editing and writing on the same thing at one time. Students and teachers alike can be in different places working on the same thing, collaborating through technology towards a common goal. I would like to see more entities follow Google’s lead and make things accessible to many people at one time to continue to support collaboration through technology.

Connecting: This is a valuable skill for both teachers and for students. This has also been the scariest part for me as I have gone on this journey throughout this quarter. For teachers being able to connect to other people in different parts of the country or even world is key. Technology allows for us to shrink our world and make it more accessible. For students it is similar. Students can communicate with people from different parts of the world, learning about their cultures and their ways of live. Access through tools such as Skype of Facetime have made that possible. Google hangout is another intriguing way to communicate and one that I have not used, but have heard good things about.

Creating: Technology is the gateway for imagination to come to life. As kids, without the fast speeds of the internet we came up with ideas in our head, role played, or drew them down. Now technology has been able to bring that to life. Teachers can bring that creativity into the classroom allowing for students to climb the levels of SAMR. Elevating the boring essay into a video recording of students acting out scenes or making a comic version of what they read about in the book. Teachers can also be creative in the way they integrate technology into their lessons, assigning for technology based assignments instead of pencil paper tasks.

Credits:

Created with images by FirmBee - "ipad mockup apple" • AlexKingCreative - "mouse apple magic mouse" • Barrett Web Coordinator - "2nd Graders using Build A Bird app on the iPad" • DFAT photo library - "Students at Shree Dharmasthali Lower Secondary School, Pokhara, Nepal." • USAG-Humphreys - "Back to School 2012 - U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea - 27 August 2012" • lcr3cr - "ipad technology tablet" • janeb13 - "computer apple business" • makamuki0 - "castells hands collaboration" • anthonytaubin - "street art internet firefox" • Whitstable Oyster Festival - "Create"

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