The definition of technology I found myself connecting with was Jonassen’s (2000) idea that “[S]tudents learn from thinking in meaningful ways. Thinking is engaged by activities, which can be fostered by computers or teachers.” This definition addresses the fact that it is learning that is the outcome, not simply the use of technology in the classroom. Digital technology can and should be used, but its incorporation must enhance student learning. This is an essential part of designing a technology-enhanced learning experience; digital technology cannot be used simply because students enjoy using it, or because we feel pressured to include it within our classrooms.
Jonassen’s definition made me think of maker spaces, coding, STEM activities and other constructivist learning strategies within the classroom. Ideally, I see a technology-enhanced learning experience being one that encourages innovative thinking and collaboration between peers, motivates students to take risks and engages students in unexpected problem solving. It must also involve students in a learning process that leads to a deeper understanding of concepts presented. Kafai and Peppler (2011) state that “To be a full member in today’s participatory culture should mean much more than knowing how to play video games, for example; it should also mean knowing how to design video games” (p. 113). Students should not walk away with surface knowledge of what we teach, but of an understanding of the concept and how to connect it and apply it to their own lives.
Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Jonassen+mindtools&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Search
Kafai, Y. and Peppler, K. (2011). Youth, technology, and DIY: Developing participatory competencies in creative media production. Review of Research in Education, 35, 89-119.