Today is National Digital Learning Day! To celebrate we’ve asked educators across the state to share their ideas on different facets of digital learning in the classroom. Dan Massimino, Teacher and Technology Support Coordinator at the Idaho Leads Project, submitted the following blog post on successfully integrating technology into the classroom.
There has been a seemingly endless amount of material, both pro and con, regarding the integration of technology into our classrooms. Supplying students with access to the vast wealth of information available on the Internet can cause anxiety, trepidation, and create a sense of worry that students aren’t ready for the responsibility required to be a productive digital citizen. When given proper guidance and trust, something else can emerge from our classrooms: innovation.
Within the world of education we stress the importance of offering our students opportunities to display what they can do, to show their level of understanding. Providing them with a tool that can help them more effectively and creatively exhibit how amazing they are can create an atmosphere where benchmark levels aren’t just attained, they’re surpassed.
Joe Morelock is the Director of Innovation and Technology in Oregon’s Canby School District. They have taken remarkable steps towards seamless, ubiquitous technological integration within their district. In fact, their innovative steps have led not just to one-to-one devices for students, but to one-plus-one device offerings. They have seen tremendous gains in student achievement, but Morelock attributes this not just to the technology, but also the opportunity provided by the district for students and teachers to interact with the larger world and the engagement in the material presented in a new way that really grabs the student and creates an environment where they can explore, create, succeed, fail, experiment, and interact with their peers, all while moving towards the constantly moving target we call “learning”.
I have traveled all over our great state of Idaho and one universal truth has emerged in the classrooms I have seen that are successfully integrating technology. They all seem to feature teachers and administrators who are willing to try something, even one small thing, and not be afraid to fail; instead these educators learn when things don’t go quite right, and improve processes which lead to increased student achievement. Math teachers call this the “guess, check, and refine” process. It directly applies when incorporating any new component to instruction, but is particularly important when integrating hardware or software in the classroom.
Technology is not something to fear; it’s something to embrace as a means for students to access information, create something great, and display their knowledge. Our kids are already operating in the 21st century--it’s time for our pedagogy to catch up them and then get out of the way. Let’s let them impress us with their amazing abilities.