Create. Innovate. Transform. Words such as these are often used when describing effective ways to use technology.
Digital Worksheets. Substitution. Shiny tools. Words such as these are often used when describing wasted ways to use technology.
And while I’m an advocate for the use of technology that does more than just do the same ol’ thing, it isn’t as simple as looking at the technology use. Here is the thing. I don’t think we should be so quick to dismiss these entry points, efficiency uses of technology.
Yes, I believe the learning environment is about engaging and empowering the learner in ways that promote agency, inquiry, and transfer. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it is always with technology. Sometimes, the technology is used to increase efficiency which leads to more time discovering, exploring, and solving whether with or without technology.
For example, a teacher using a Google Form at the start of class to quickly determine the extent to which the class understands the content doesn’t speak to anything transformative. However, when this leads to an increase in leaner-centered experiences due to a significant reduction in teacher-centered activities, the environment is shifting in meaningful ways.
I fully admit I’m sifting through these ideas still and I’m sure there will be plenty of criticism tossed my way. But think about what the goal is…
In my eyes, it is about transformative learning experiences with or without technology. If technology can get us there faster through efficient uses, I’m all for it and think it is should be deemed just as successful as a direct transformative use of technology. In other words, evaluating the classroom experience as a whole and not just an isolated look at the technology use is critical to determining overall success.