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Friday, 9 August 2013

Food for thought about the use of technology as a helping hand

In this article, Cindy Matthews, an educator in Waterloo, Ontario, raises a few points I found interesting.  The article revolves around the elementary and secondary schools, but as I am acutely aware, the students finishing grade 11 in 2013 will be in my classroom in September 2014.  I do not anticipate any material change in outlook from a 16 year old to an 18 year old, save for the removal of the safety net of public school.  So what piqued my interest in this article?

When reading the Teaching Naked book, I became very aware that I am a "textbook teaching" kind of instructor, which doesn't necessarily bring the point of the material home.  When considering the technology available, particularly apps, podcasts, and videos, I wondered if I am lowering the engagement level in my classroom.  To paraphrase Ms. Walker, lack of engagement isn't because there is something wrong with the students, it's because the material isn't being presented in an engaging way.

The other thought I had when reading this is the parallel Ms. Walker draws when comparing students with technology to students requiring wheelchairs.  While a bit dramatic, I considered the amount my own children learned about the periodic elements from a game on the iPhone versus sitting down with a chemistry book.  With the level of computer access provided by the college to my students in addition to their own PC's and smartphones, I would agree that there is no compelling reason why I would consider not making use of the available technology.

To quote directly: "Let’s not permit fear of change to limit the potential of our students but rather let’s embrace what modern technology can do to motivate students to do what they are there to do:  learn."

Matthews, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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