I don’t often get excited about column posts or blogs, not even my own. That being said, I worked myself into a state of extreme rapture (hyperbole) while reading Matt Henderson’s article from the Winnepeg Free Press entiltled Too Many Tools and Not Enough Thinking. In this article Matt preaches much of what I have been saying over the span of the last few years. Use of technology does NOT equate to good teaching but rather, students thinking deeply is the result of good teaching. I like that, I like that a lot.
Like Matt, I read a great deal of posts on Twitter and new books on Transformative Education. I also attend many conferences based on the changing landscape of education and sure enough, on the whole many educational thinkers are lost in the fluff, in my humble opinion. They post top 10 lists, tech infused projects and how to use production tools to make a better presentation without really challenging the students to think very hard. In many cases, students get caught in the production of the piece rather than being challenged with deep thinking about anything beyond what color or template looks prettiest. It’s a bit maddening, really.
Where I may differ from Matt however, and I am not certain as I don’t actually know the man, is the ability of technology to really compliment and stretch the thinking of students. The bombing in Boston is a perfect example. My 17 year old daughter came home quite distraught about the whole event and began to show me pictures of the little girl who died as a result of the bomb . . . like her, I was quite upset as we looked at the Twitter feed of the little girl on her bike and the heartbroken family. It was only an hour later while watching the news that we discovered that the child was actually a boy and bore no resemblance at all to the little girl we were greiving. Teachable moment about the power of technology and checking sources ensued, much to the chagrin of my daughter. My point here is that technology is bringing up topics of ethics and consciencness which are more in the face of this generation than ever before. Technology has made our world smaller and therefore students can be asked to think deeply about more issues that are immediate in the word and how things cn become gray with out deep thinking. Rigor is required for this deep thinking as studnets are required to filter out nonsense and differentiate good information from bad in order to arrive at truth. That’s great!
Like so many teachers, I believe that technology can assist in engaging and challenging students and, like a lot of teachers, I believe technology can be nothing more than bells and whistles. So teachers, I suggest to you, use the tools, allow kids to engage in the pencil and paper of their generation but more importantly, make them think. Make them apply the same logic and critical thinking skildd that has solved problems for mankind since the dawn of time.
Keep on learning,