Its Not About The Technology

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Here we are. 2014. Fourteen years into the 21st century yet I keep reading about “21st century teaching practices” as if they are new. I’m growing tired of the countless lists of things/tools/ways to teach in this 21st century.

It is not about the technology. It is not about the iPad. It is not about the next best app. There are a million apps that all do the same thing.

Its about the pedagogy. Sure technology is a component, but its not THE component.

What I mean to say is you can’t dump a class set of iPads on students who have never used them and expect great things. You need to set the framework for success. You need to establish the community. And its not about rules.

I get asked – and asked a lot – how I deal with inappropriateness on school devices and quite honestly, it doesn’t happen often. My students don’t see the technology as a toy.  They don’t abuse the devices but that is because of the work we put into building our digital classroom.

Let me give an example or two.

  1. We empower our students as leaders
  2. They help in the decision making process
  3. We stopped fighting gum and hat rules (a trivial example, sure – but its a piece of the community I am trying to explain)
  4. We trust our students from the first day of school
  5. We trust our students from the first day of school

OK so I mentioned that one twice. The point I am trying to make is “21st century” classrooms are about learning spaces, collaboration, inquiry, resilience etc.

Did we use the overhead projector because it improved student learning? No. It was used as a teaching tool.

Focus on being the teacher your students never want to disappoint and your lessons will become infinitely easier.

Any business management course will tell you that if you empower employees, they will perform better. Be a leader and not a boss whether in the classroom or in the office. We need to stop making decisions based on fear. Once you have wrapped your head around that – implement the technology.

Happy May two-four folks!

-B

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