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Against Technology Integration

September 9, 2015

 

Image: Creative Commons License by Wally Gobetz on Flickr.com

Image: Creative Commons License by Wally Gobetz on Flickr.com

Technology integration is a noble-sounding aim, but it is a concept that does not go far enough. 

 

Picture technology integration as a ham and cheese sandwich. The ham is the content and the cheese is the technology. The ham and cheese remain two separate things. You can pull them apart and eat them seperately even though integrated they make a better sandwich than either alone.

Now imagine a jelly sandwich. The moment you put peanut butter on the jelly, you can’t put it back on the spoon. The sandwich is totally changed and has achieved something that the jelly could not do alone.

Image: by deborahmiller56 available at pixabay.com py.com/en/peanut-butter-breakfast-food-dinner-350099/

Image: Creative Commons License deborahmiller56 on pixabay.com

Digital learning tools in school need to be like the peanut butter that can’t be put back on the spoon. The addition of technology should totally change the lesson. If you can do the same lesson without the technology, then the technology is unnecessary and an expensive and time-consuming waste of sophisticated tools.

Integration is not enough. Technology that simply supports content is not sufficient.

Teachers must shift the focus of teaching so that we are providing our students with deep learning experiences that allow the development of creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. We must let our students take charge of their own learning using digital tools to make their voices heard in the wider world. We must release control of the learning to our students, allowing them to explore the real-world and construct their own knowledge. This is not school as I knew it in the 1970s/1980s. The very nature of the sandwich learning experience needs to change.

If you can pull the technology out of your lesson and still have the same lesson, go back to the kitchen and check your sandwich.

 

 

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