As we are utilizing our CILO time today, it is important for us to remember that as much as educational technology can be used to enhance and enable student learning, it also depends on the task as to whether it is the best choice or not…
Often, there may be excellent reason for utilizing educational technology, but just like anything else it can be used in a manner similar to “worksheet” learning.
The practice of putting kids on computers as purely a time for play or as something to keep them occupied for a while is simply not the best use of our instructional time. However, if it fits the right reasons it can be used very purposely and authentically.
Do not feel that it is expected that educational technology be used every time for every learning task. We, as the designer of learning, must make good choices about when and how it is utilized. We do not need to force the fit. I think the same thinking goes for if you are using any resource within the school, including volunteers, manipulatives or artifacts, rooms or spaces, books, or anything else. We should be able to justify the resources we use and make sure they are the best resources for the purpose.
When utilizing any resource, we are working to create curriculum built upon the understanding that all people learn best when they are doing tasks that are challenging and of interest to them. If we are using any resource, we can ask ourselves a few questions:
- What is the purpose of the learning task?
- How will I enable cognitive investment from my students?
- How can I implement an instructional style that is responsive, formative, and match with what our learners need?
- How do we make this learning task authentic and build upon our big picture learning?
If you are able to develop a good understanding of these questions when creating innovative learning opportunities, then you will know if educational technology (or any other resource) brings benefit to what the students need.
Work hard, learn tons!