Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tools That Enhance Learning

How many times do we see a tweet or blog post that focuses on tools that enhance learning. Don't get me wrong - I am thankful that my peers and colleagues share the tools that have been useful for them and make an impact on teaching and learning.  However, I am at a point in my career that I think to myself, "We can all make a huge list of tools and resources that make a difference.  But if technology in instruction does not become ubiquitous (or at least a priority of instructional leadership), how will technology and these tools / resources become a mainstay?"

I've always contended that we often teach the way we were taught. And one could argue, "it worked fine for me, so why not use the same techniques and methods?"  The generation of students we are working with now ARE different whether people are going to admit it or not.  Our students do not know a world without cell phones.  I would bet that most don't have a land line where they live.   They've probably never had to cross the room to change the channel or volume on the television.  A VHS tape is an antique artifact in their world.  And quite often, they are not taught proper digital citizenship because more often than not their parents aren't full in tune with all of the technological advances.

Where do we start?  Parent information evenings?  Staff development?  I don't know the full answer, but a comprehensive plan is a must.  I would urge all of my peers and colleagues, as well as parents, to familiarize themselves with resources such as Edutopia and Common Sense Media.  The materials on these sites are powerful.  We also really need to understand what student-centric education truly is.  Though this post is seven years old, it's a good read on Edutopia.

Think about how vehicles have evolved in our lifetime.   The evolvement of media, mail (snail mail versus FAX machines versus email.)  Sports - how athletes have evolved.   Now think about our schools?  Have they evolved?  It's more than the tools that enhance learning; it's the mindset of those leading districts and serving on a school board.

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