By now, you know I am a prone believer that technology can greatly enhance learning. What I saw was not enhanced learning to me. I saw students typing a few sentences on a small tablet. I saw students trying to take pictures of artifacts as proof of their learning using a Chromebook. And, some of them were getting a little frustrated. I have to say: I understood! I don’t think they had the right tool for the job!
The tools that we were working with were not to me the tool of choice for the pedagogical intention we had. Yet, we wanted, well, we had to integrate technology in our activity. So, we went ahead and did it with the tools we had. I am not sure I feel we were successful.
Given, we were in a teacher collaborative inquiry: it was a good environment to try new strategies, new tools. But, I am asking myself: if I don’t have the right tool for my pedagogical intention, do I still decide to do it with technology? Lately, I have sometimes had the feeling technology is being used because it is expected to be used. Technology is all around us, it is always talked about, we have to use it, right? Well, I am not sure (and yes, I am saying that!). Let me explain.
Some of the usage I have seen almost felt unnatural. And to me, that’s not the way it should be. I constantly use the power of technology in my daily life because it allows me to do things I could not do otherwise, because it facilitates what I do, because it makes me more efficient. If it doesn’t help me, if it does make me more efficicent, I don’t use it! Believe it or not, I still write my grocery list on a piece of paper and head out to the store with my paper list. Why don’t you use your phone, I have been asked often? I have tried, many times … I can’t hold my phone around the grocery cart handdle when I need to push the cart (not flexible at all!!)! It’s much faster to put my list in my pocket and out again when I need my two hands and crossing an item with a pen … yes … a pen … is much faster than highliting, crossing it on my phone. I have tried few different ways and for now, I find it more efficient to use my paper list. So, be it.
To me, that’s the way I would like it to be in the classroom. Students should learn when technology can enhance, facilitate learning and how. However, when the most appropriate tool for the job is not available to them, what I do as a teacher? It’s a reflection I have been having for a few weeks and I am still not sure.
If I don’t have the right tool for what I want to do, do I still go ahead and plan tasks that can be enhanced, facilitated by technology, no matter the kind of experience students will have with the tool they have; after all, we are expected to use technology in the classroom. It doesn’t sound too right. Do I wait to integrate technology and push the administrative team to get the right tools for the job? It might take a while... Do I go ahead and do my best to merge my pedagogical intentions with the tools I have even if it’s not always enhancing or facilitating learning the way I originally intended to be. I am not a big fan of adjusting my pedagogy to the tools, but in the reality of the school, the classroom, sometimes, it might be necessary if I want my students to experiment positively with technology?
The more I think about it, the more I am still unsure of what I would do and, especially, how I would do it. What would you do?