Sunday, March 9, 2008

Engagement

Geekymomma had a recent post about 21st century learners which was definitely worth reading.

Here's part of what she said:
The difficult part is where teachers have to come out of their comfort zones. I've taught a few classes for some local college "education technology" classes and the instructors usually ask me to teach their students about the "stuff" we have and how to use it. I'm often invited to schools to speak to faculties and mostly they want me to demonstrate some of the "stuff" we offer in our district and how to use it. So, through no fault of their own, even the instructors and the adminstrators don't always "get" that if we can teach people to think differently and to teach their students SKILLS (duh!) and use some cool tools at the same time, then there will be some terrific success. BUT WE DON'T START WITH THE TOOLS! (Do you pick up a hammer and ask yourself what you can build today?)
Here's part of my response on her blog:
I use a lot of technology in my middle school (7th and 8th grade) life science classroom. My students have used a classblog, a wiki, GoogleDocs, created podcasts, created Flash animations, etc.

All of it (all of it) has been incredibly useful and productive, for both my students and I.

I have come to believe that engagement is the issue (just like in the video) and not the technology.

Unfortunately, the cottage industry of technology tool providers would have us believe otherwise, in the archetypal "silver bullet" for education.

I so want those of us using technology to beat the drum for engagement, engagement, engagement.

I would also like to see the next, natural outcome, which is student ownership of their own learning and for the learning environment as well.


Her post also featured this video, which was very cool.

2 comments:

Lee said...

I agree that the vendors push the silver bullet and that's where all the "buzz words" come from. Unfortunately, it's like the insurance driving the medical industry. It doesn't work, it hurts the patience, but it happens. And so the tail continues to wag the dog.

Mr. A. said...

Lee,
Thanks for responding.
I agree. I think it's a direct consequence of an "accountability" focused culture for education.

It reminds me of the weight loss industry as well.