We have to continue asking the right questions!
In this presentation at the “Learning Without Frontiers” conference Anthony Salcito raises a lot of interesting questions regarding the use of technology in schools! Instead of giving a lecture about technology stating the obvious, he is here exploring the questions that we should be asking ourselves. Technology is just a vehicle to show us how far we haven’t come as opposed to how far we have come. We set up devices and then we ask questions like; how do they work, how do we fill them with content? What kinds of devices are we using?
Instead we should be thinking about how learning is advanced. How do we use technology to learn and then later test? The irony is that when the test starts technology is suddenly forbidden. That is a reflection both on the testing as a concept and technology as well. We all agree that technology is preparing our students for the workforce but it is not changing what we do in school. We need to ask the question; what has to happen to chance this? We need to know what is going on in the classrooms. It is sad that amazing things might be going on in one classroom, while at the same time it is not happening in the classroom down the hall in the same school. If we think about changing how are classrooms look, that really isn’t that important. We should be more focused on why learning matters and how it is relevant to the real world. We often hear that devices improve test scores, but how could they? Devices don’t do anything to ensure high tests scores but they might add to the students’ motivation to learn. It is always the students who improve their own learning! Today many have all the tools in the world to connect data. What we need to is to move to where technology advances the emotional response.
The role of the teacher
The digital world has changed learning, but not every kid is included in this. We need to make access a priority. Holistic transformation. What is the role of the teacher and how does the the role of assessment fit into the agenda? Studies show that students and teachers pretty much use technology in basic ways. They use technology in school like they do everywhere else. Students used to come to class to get information. The teacher would deliver content and the students would learn some of it and that would be it. Today students come to class with information and the content already pre-wired. So the fundamental role of the teacher is no longer to deliver information. And that has to be the reality of technology’s change. I think it is pretty much like Ewan Mcintosh was talking about at our conference last year. It is about empowering the students engaging in a process of opening up opportunities to explore, forming interesting and relevant questions. When you find these questions / topics you can ask yourself, how can technology help me find the answers?. How can I connect with others who can help me? How can I find out more about this topic and connect it with previous knowledge?