Tools of Learning

Of the various descriptions of technology and its impacts on learning, I found Chris Dede’s comments in Robert Kozma’s book (2003) to resonate with my views.  He noted that technology’s mere presence and availability in schools does not immediately or automatically produce better learning environments.  Instead they are tools that facilitate a myriad of new possibilities from ones that directly impact individual learning (empowerment of disenfranchised learners), classroom environments (richer curricula and enhanced pedagogies), and the larger learning community (stronger links between school and society).  This very neatly supports Jonassen’s (2000) assertion that “[S]tudents learn from thinking in meaningful ways. Thinking is engaged by activities, which can be fostered by computers or teachers.”  In total, technology provides stronger, more interactive, more meaningful, and more engaging learning opportunities which in turn provides students with a deeper and more connected understanding.

To me, a technology enhanced learning experience is one that uses technology to bridge the needs and desires of both students and teachers in order to provide a more meaningful and effective learning environment.  For students, this would mean that technology offers them more stimulating and engaging activities, an adaptable pace for individualized learning, and ways to explore and connect their curiousity.  On the other side of the classroom, technology would provide teachers with automation of menial tasks for time efficiency, dynamic but focused learning activities, and opportunities for students to create and formulate their own knowledge.

 

References:

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

Kozma, R. (2003). Technology, innovation, and educational change: A global perspective, (A report of the Second Information Technology in Education Study, Module 2). Eugene, OR: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, ISTE Publications.

4 comments

  1. These are the two definitions that most resonated with me also. Just because digital technology is available to use in the classroom does not mean that it enhances the learning experience, nor does it automatically transform the learning of the students. Pedagogical design needs to be in place allowing for the affordances of the technology in order to make sure they are being utilized to their maximum advantage. Although using them to type an essay is a reasonable use of the technology, it should not be the only thing it is used for in the classroom.
    On the other side of the classroom, there are many ways technology can make a teacher’s life a little easier, mostly because there are things already created and in place to be use. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I would love to be able to have devices available to my students all day long, so that their use of them becomes seamless, using them when they need to instead of only when they have been signed out.

  2. Hi Lawrence!
    Excellent summation of the definitions of technology. In this ideal space you have outlined, how would logistics of using technology fit in like costs, professional development, ease of access, troubleshooting that would enhance access and functionality of the tools?

    Thanks for sharing,
    Vibhu

  3. I think you have identified two important sides of the technology context – student use and teacher use. Do you think there could also be value in a role reversal, where students are able to employ technology for automation and teachers employ technology for professional learning and satisfaction of curiousity?

  4. HI Everyone,
    While I agree with what has been stated in the above thread I have started to wonder if we (members of the MET community) have a different view of the ease of technology integration by teachers as a means to make things easier. Including, as stated by Lawrence, “providing teachers with automation of menial tasks for time efficiency” and as stated by Anne “because there are things already created and in place to be used. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.” When I speak to my husband and kids (university students) about how MET students see things and how other teachers may see things they have named it “looking through the MET goggles”. I hear from many more teachers who find technology time consuming and tedious. Not worth the investment of time for what is added to their lessons. I wonder how we get others to look through the MET goggles and realize all they are missing.
    Catherine

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