I’ve been thinking a lot about Bill Ferriter’s “Technology is a Tool, NOT a Learning Outcome” image, especially after his recent blog post responding to critics, because it was very timely in my summer journey to learn more about technology to use in my classroom this coming year.
The word “wrong” struck me very strongly when I read it, but maybe if he had used a different word, we wouldn’t be thinking about and discussing this so passionately! I’ve said before that I don’t want to use tech just to use it, that making a poster in PicCollage isn’t necessarily an improvement over a paper one, a video isn’t automatically better than a model, and a blog post isn’t fundamentally different than an essay unless…connection, constructing learning, reflection and collaboration are happening in a more meaningful way.
That said, I think he’s hit the nail on the head! One of the true benefits of edtech is that kids can now be empowered to have voices as big as adults’ in the world around them. Another thought – SEL is underpinned with the tenet that we all need connection and a community that appreciates our unique talents and perspective.
Social media can either create or strengthen this when used correctly.
So, I’m wondering just how we evaluate the use of a particular technology. These are the questions I plan to ask myself before proceeding with an idea:
Edtech, does it…?
1. Connect with objectives: the outcomes showcase the learning in a unique or creative way or enhance the process.
2. Construct Learning: students are actively engaged in constructing their own learning.
3. Encourage reflection: it captures student reflection on learning outcomes that can be shared and discussed as a group or reflection on personal progress.
3. Encourage collaboration: it incites passionate response, group problem-solving and/or kids affecting change in their environment or the world.
I’m hoping I’m on the right track. I’m sure there are other factors to consider, but this is where I’ve chosen to start.