Written by Terry Heick for TeachThought.
A little bit of technology doesn’t change much. Can make things a little easier by automating them. It could make a lesson here or there gee-wiz flashy, or even engage hesitant students. Tacked-on learning technology can do this.
But deep integration of technology–real at-the-marrow fusion of learning model, curriculum, and #edtech? That changes everything.
10 Ways Technology Has Changed Education: The Iconic Actions #edtech Should Disrupt
1. Give letter grades
You may need appreciate the way gamification can improve the visibility of the entire learning process. You may dislike standards-based reporting, using labels like “proficient,” or grading with a 1-3 scale. You may not even like pass/fail.
This is okay. With technology, the name of the game is publishing. Sharing. Fluid documents and processes. Iteration. Reflection. Crowdsourcing. Digital communities. Authenticity.
You can still give letter grades–the parents will revolt and the children may be confused if you don’t. Give them whatever grade makes them feel better. But use technology to provide the kind of self-awareness and self-directed revision of work that a letter grade could never promote.
2. Your designing of your own classroom
Concerns of bulletin boards, rows versus clusters of desks, and where your desk goes change with the full integration of learning technology.
Of more pressing concern is the signage on the walls that focuses on learning strategies and digital citizenship. Also to fret? WiFi signal, outlets, access to frequently move around the class, ways to not disrupt other classrooms with “noise.”
Your classroom has become the world’s classroom–more of a vessel or template than something your own.
3. Choose where the learning happens
Usually learning happens in your classroom. Part of the time they’re reading or writing or solving problems. Part of the time they’re listening to you. Part of the time they’re doing group work, and then following it all up at home with practice–or in a flipped setting, reverse it all.
But deep integration of technology in learning should–ideally anyway–make learning mobile–always-on, asynchronous and self-directed access to both content and collaborators. In the library, down the hall, from any room in the school, from any school in the district. In their own neighborhoods, cities, and surrounding communities.
Yes, this sounds like crazy talk. No, it’s not feasible for every classroom every day for every age group. Yes, there’d be chaos and disruption of your district’s schedule they created back August.
4. Decide the pace of student progress
As the teacher, you’re used to being the control valve for content, assessment, feedback, and reporting.
One person’s control valve is the next person’s bottleneck. Technology should completely obliterate your ability to precisely control what learning happens, when. With full integration of technology, students can choke on too much information, or fall on their face with no idea where to go, or what to do when they get there.
This is an excellent starting point for a new kind of planning.
5. Select audience for student thinking
For years, it was the teacher. Then other students when you pinned the work on the classroom walls and in the hallway. Then you started a blog that sees 135 visits per month, and shared work there. You mixed in the occasional project where students all took home—or brought in—very similar artifacts, and felt pretty good about it all. No worksheets in your class!
Except that the idea audience for any student is their community. Connecting them with their own neighborhood in new ways. Or their extended family. Or business and cultural leaders in their city. Or even a classroom in Bombay.
Anybody but you.