As I’ve written about before, apps and other digital technology are on the rise and are an increasingly affective way to teach. However, it must be understood that we are in the early stages of figuring out how to use technology in a meaningful way—or a way that works for everyone. Here are a few suggestions that should help you in the uncharted world of technology teaching apps.
Privilege learning goals over technology integration
One relevant concept comes from Lee Shulman’s idea of pedagogical content knowledge, which states that teachers are more than just experts on the subjects they teach, but also experts at teaching. Applied to technology, we can learn the lesson that successful teaching is the greatest goal of teachers; putting technology in your classroom will not magically work, it must have a plan. This is not meant to discredit the use of technology in classrooms, but a warning that technology should only be deployed if there is a good plan behind its use, otherwise you will be wasting you and your students’ time.
Don’t let technology make learning easy: keep learning challenging but not impossible
This is a tough balance to find, but it is a very important compromise to make. Be sure to design lesson plans that give students everything they will need to succeed, but don’t hand it right to them. Forcing students to look up answers with technology does not help. If you can teach students how to use technology to aid their learning processes without simply looking for direct answers to questions or problems, then everyone will benefit. Simply put: go for method over results.
One of the greatest benefits digital technologies can offer education is the ease with which it promotes dialogue and discussion. Peer response and peer review are incredibly easy given the right digital tool and you can use this to your advantage in the classroom. Probably the best part of student collaboration is that it lets them help each other!
This advice can also take the form of only using technology that provides some sort of feedback functionality; you want to avoid technology that simply says whether a student’s answer is “correct” or “incorrect.” Instead, find apps that explain why an answer is correct or incorrect.
For more tips about using technology in the classroom, click here.
Do you think technology should be used more in classrooms?