Changing the Tech, Same Story

There was a time when I was a worksheet/packet printing teacher who taught from the front of the room while my students sat in their seats…in various room settings copying and regurgitating. I hated that year and I imagine that my students, all adults now, did as well. My students were not engaged but totally complying because of the relationship that we established.

Were they successful in my class? Yes.

Did they learn math? I think so.

Was it fun? Probably not.

I knew better. They deserved better and thankfully that period of time was short.

My school district invested in SMARTboards in every classroom. That, aside from student computers, was all that we had. Eventually, I would add SMART Response PE, XE and then VE to our learning environment in addition to a Slate. The interesting thing is that my students would still become creators. They created content using SMART Notebook. They were making videos and stories related to math because I demanded that Notebook software be placed on student computers too. I should also add that their videos were not just “instructional” but “informational” and fun. It was important.

It’s interesting to me that we tend to discount the power of creating outside of our mobile mediums. My students were creators before creating was a “thing”. They did not have ipads, chromebooks or smartphones because at that time, those mediums did not exist.

Fast forward 6 more years and now students have the power to be creative at their fingertips. Yet, we are often still not at a place where students are creating or even collaborating.

I would love to say that the days of students in rows watching a teacher teach are gone. They are not. Instead, that teacher may be carrying an ipad and even sharing a screen to student devices which means that instead of students staring at a board…they are staring at the small screen on their desk.

We still fight daily for creation and innovation yet in most cases, if ipads are in classrooms, they are filled with consumption apps and multiple choice assessment tools.

Why is that?

Simple…Changing a device isn’t transformation. Changing beliefs is. Removing a board and replacing it with screens does absolutely nothing if pedagogy isn’t addressed.

Also, screen writing on pages of pdfs = packets.

Sometimes, change isn’t change at all. We will get there once we know the difference.

Comments 1

  1. As long as public K12 remains lock-stepped and tied to standardized testing, there will be administrators and teachers that work for organizations that will require them to teach to the test or use the multiple choice testing apps because it gives them data that they can use to see how their kids are “progressing” throughout the year.
    It’s awful and sad. We need more leaders to “take a chance” (it’s not even a chance because it works) and promote creativity and innovation and accept better ways of assessing learning.
    Thank you for the post. We all feel your frustrations.

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