Monday, January 10, 2011
Improving Student Learning With Technology Tools
I applaud him for that. He is definitely fighting an uphill battle in terms of motivating his teachers to embrace the technology tools. He is constantly lamenting how difficult it has been to motivate his staff to use the wealth of technology at his school.
Technology should be part of our children’s learning environment the same way it is part of their lives outside of the school walls. Why should they step back in time when they are going to the place where learning about the world is supposed to take place? No extra effort is used to integrate technology into their lives for them in the real world. Technology is PART of the real-world and it needs to be a component of their education.
Everywhere children are in the real world technology is right there with them. I understand that some are concerned with technology overload, and I agree, we must have balance. We do not want to sacrifice physical fitness and face-to-face interaction, but at the same time, we do not wish to cripple our children by not exposing them to technology that foster and expedite learning.
Albert Einstein said: I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. What better way to provide the conditions for learning than with technology? My friend understands this. Technology allows for students to learn at their own pace, not the pace of the majority of the students, or the pace at which the teacher prefers, but their own pace.
Most in education would agree that the best teachers are those who had to go through teaching in the field before they actually faced a real classroom. My principal friend agrees. He prefers teachers who have spent their time in the classroom as a student-teachers before trying their hand in the classroom setting.
These days student-teaching is happening less and less and alternative certification (a process that bypasses student teaching), is more prevalent. With the advent of technology, introduced as part of the TeachMe initiative at the University of Central Florida, a new tool has recently been introduced that uses software to simulate student teaching.
Here is an excerpt from a recent article on Education Week regarding the TeachMe tool: Real-time classroom simulations like TeachME, supporters say, and offer promise for a host of teacher-training applications. Through them, candidates could gain hands-on practice with urban students, or practice a discrete skill such as classroom management. Most of all, such simulations give teachers in training the ability to experiment—and make mistakes—without the worry of doing harm to an actual child’s learning.
We need our teachers to embrace the wisdom of the quote provided above by Einstein and provide the conditions in which our children can learn. Understand that they do not have to do it all. Use the tools that are at their disposal. The same way that they used the technology of years gone by such as overhead projectors, they need to recapture that same enthusiasm and master and utilize the SmartBoards of today. Our children are counting on it!