There has been much talk in the media lately about technology in education, the large sums of money involved and the limited impact it has had upon results.
The OECD report on the surface of things looked pretty scathing. That's because popular media always looks for the big title to draw readers in. When you scratch beneath the surface though there are some things there that can really help. As Steve Wheeler writes about the report:
"It calls for new approaches to integrating technology into teaching, because at present technology use is not optimal...What the report is actually saying is that technology is no substitute for good pedagogy... It also suggests that technology can be a distraction for students if it is poorly deployed... Both conclusions tell us more about the pedagogy prevalent in schools than they do about the potential of technology." ~ Steve Wheeler
This of course makes absolute sense. Deploying technology without thinking about all the angles in to schools is like trying to cook a 1000 cover banquet without planning the menu. It is simply ridiculous. Yet it still happens, which is why we persist in seeing headlines like this in the media. As we see now, just like the Nesta report from 2012; if the conditions for success aren't planted long before technology hits the classroom; what's the point?
For teachers, half the battle with using tech is often the confidence to have a go yourself and to allow your students to have a go too; the other half is then to make that use purposeful, and not just shoe-horned in because you've been told you should use it.
SAMR image by Mark Anderson @ICTEvangelist
SAMR provides a useful framework to help with the thinking about purposeful tech but as this image hopefully illustrates, it's not quite as simple as you'd think. Word for example could reflect use which ranges from substitution right up to modification. iOS gives a massive wide range of options to how you might use your technology. As for Google, the opportunities across nearly all of the Google Apps for Education Apps give opportunities across the SAMR range. And then there's the fact that actually, SAMR isn't even a ladder.
Some people reading this might not know what SAMR is so please take the time to read up on it - it really can be helpful in your thinking about how to purposefully use technology, which leads nicely on to the first of nine ideas for how you can effectively start to use technology in the classroom.
"My biggest takeaway from your book was SAMR - it made me realise I should be using technology for purposeful reasons, not just because I thought I should be using technology." ~ Abbie Mann
use tech for a purpose
That's right... This isn't anything to do with SAMR or anything else. Just make sure you are using technology to enhance learning. Don't just use it to tick a box on your performance management or as a panacea for bad teaching.
"Technology can amplify great teaching, but just doesn't replace poor teaching." ~ Andreas Schleicher
Use it for purposeful reasons and perhaps think a bit more deeply than asking your pupils to use technology for research. If you're looking to tread lightly in to the world of using tech then why not ask students to demonstrate what they've learned this week in the form of a word cloud.
From a lesson taught by @vicki_theginge
In the words of this teacher:
"...compared to summing up on post its/exit tickets I got to see so much more of what they knew." ~ Vicki Vincent