A student IPad in a Spanish Class
Let’s Just Ask Them: What Technology Do You Want in the Classroom?
I’ve said it before: I like to do something different on Fridays. That applies to posting on this blog and what I do in the classroom. So, in that spirit of mixing things up a bit, I thought I would write a short post about what I plan to do in some of my classes today.
I plan on conducting a survey of my students to see what ideas they have about using technology in their education. I want to find out what kinds of ideas they have on how we can use some of the available tools in their day-to-day school life. I’ll carry this out by having them write what amounts to a journal entry to answer that question. I intend to leave the door pretty wind open as far as the possibilities they can bring to the table.
I’m not really sure what I will get–if I get anything at all. But, I do hope to get 2 or 3 ideas that I haven’t thought of at some time or another. With some real luck I might have a student mention something I can try pretty quickly. The foundation for these hopes of mine come from the fact that the students are more immersed in current technology than I am. They are the digital natives, I am the immigrant.
Maybe they can come up with something that has slipped by my attention. Maybe they can alert me to something that will allow me to do some aspect of my job as a teacher a little better. Maybe they can tell me how to use something we already use to its full potential. Maybe they can see that they have a vested interest in their education. Maybe they can learn that the tech around them can be used for more than just checking in somewhere, updating their status, or playing a game.
That is probably a lot to ask for–but there is no way to know if I don’t ask. I confess that the idea of making things in the classroom more student centered or oriented has been on my mind a lot lately. As I have been reading more articles from around the web recently, it seems that I keep running into certain topics more and more. “The flipped classroom” and “gamification” are two such topics that I seem to be running into more and more. Alongside this, there is what I am observing in my classes on a daily basis. The way my students approach the material I present is changing–has changed from 5 years ago, or even 1 year ago now that our school has a 1-1 IPad program.
Life in the classroom is changing. Whether we think it shouldn’t, whether we think it should, whether we think it is right, whether we think it is wrong, whether we think it is for the worse, life in the classroom is changing. And if we educators want that change to be for the better, we had better learn to ride the wave and change with it. We can’t teach the same way as teachers in the 1950s or 60s taught. The 21st century world outside of the classrooms and schools has changed–is constantly changing because of the technology we have. If schools are meant to prepare their students for that changing world, then teachers have to change how we engage our students as they prepare for life in a world which is more dependent on the technology which is shaping it in greater and greater degrees.
So, shouldn’t we at least ask at some point what our students think is important for their future when it comes to technology and how they use it?
I try to follow-up with the results of my little survey in a post in the near future.
What do you think? What do your students think about technology in the classroom?
As always, please feel free to comment and offer some suggestions or tell me I’m full of crap. If you like this post or blog please follow it on Twitter, like it Facebook, or subscribe to it. The more the merrier.