Keep your money. I want good learning.

If I had a dollar for every time a teacher asked me what app they should use or what website they should send their kids to, I’d be richer than Richy Rich.

SPOILER ALERT: I’m not.

But I AM frustrated with this kind of thinking. I guess, several years ago, this WAS how technology was integrated into learning–you had some great sites that you could plop kids on and they’d be able to explore some corner of the internet they didn’t know about. Or (in my day) you got to play Number Munchers or Oregon Trail when you were done with your assignment.

Nowadays, we care more about what we want the kids to learn, and THEN what or if technology should be involved. This makes it harder on teachers in some ways, because we have to run through the list of resources and devices available (if we even KNOW of what’s available) and choose the right one. The hardest thing–maybe–is realizing when no technology is the right one.

And then, even more difficult, is the option of providing students with choice as to what device or tool they use–or if they use one at all. They’re no longer all doing a prescribed PowerPoint with set information on each slide; they’re:

  • creating a lesson to teach the class a concept or skill
  • demonstrating a scientific principle using video or animation
  • publishing a collaborative blog about a lit circle book
  • etc.

They’re creating something with an objective in mind, and–if a teacher has the guts–deciding how they want to do that.

This–I believe–is the most powerful shift in instruction with technology in our district: student choice. It requires a teacher who is willing to introduce different platforms or devices, allow (possibly) unknown programs or devices to be used, allow students to teach themselves and each other, and embrace the chaos of non-uniformity.

So, even if I COULD have a dollar for every question about the “magic app,” I DON’T WANT IT.

Keep your money. I want good learning.

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