Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The impact of technology on learning.

How does technology impact student learning? Some will say it has been the demise of education since the computer has entered the school doors. Then there is the other extreme that believe the computer is the ONLY tool of choice for learning.

Some students may say "hate computers" and others live for them. But is it just the computer that is part of this technology evolution?

There are electronic microscopes for science classes and GIS (geographic information systems) that are common in most social studies programs where students learn the skills necessary for engineers and future city planners. SiliconCoach is an amazing tool that can be used for Phys.Ed, Dance, and many other sports teams. It "produces a range of sports analysis software designed to analyse motion, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of injury." Food analysis software for Food & Nutrition classes. And the list goes on.....

I purchased a new cellphone the other day. While we were having lunch with friends and their teenage kids, I was mumbling about how I wanted my old cellphone back. This one just wasn't doing what I wanted it to. My friends teenagers asked to see the a matter of about 4 seconds they were into my cellphone looking like NASA programmers and had my problem solved. I smiled and asked them if they could figure out what other features the phone had. Again they turned to the cellphone with a serious look and in about 10 seconds told me about 10 other features my phone had (that I wouldn't admit I didn't know). Great I said, and the teenagers just smiled and shrugged his shoulders. All in a days work. Think about the joy any teacher would feel if a classroom of students took on that same enthusiasm with their work. Shouldn't this happen in all classes?

Are we using the right tools to engage our students? Are we as educators scared to take this journey along side our students instead of being the leaders? Are we trying to engage students with old technologies?

Next time you are with some students. Ask them this: How many people use technology? You may find that many only think of a computer for an answer.

Then many have a cellphone? An mp3 player? Have Digital TV at home? How many have a Myspace account?

Hey, that's technology.

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