Are you using Internet tools to engage students in the classroom and improve learning outcomes, or are you just using technology to decrease the time you spend lecturing and interacting with your students?
There are many great internet based tools available to bring new elements of collaboration, interaction, and even a little fun to the instructional process and thereby better engage and motivate your students and enhance learning outcomes. Of course, it is also entirely possible to use technology as a crutch or a “baby sitter”, but this is a rather unfortunate use of these tools and can give education technology a bad name.
Many of you may have seen this excellent, widely discussed article, “Teaching Naked”
by teacher Jose’ A. Bowen this summer. Mr. Bowen suggests stripping the classroom of technology and focusing class time on discussion and interactive activities. I certainly agree that scrolling through PowerPoint slide decks as a replacement for lecturing is not optimal instructional technique. In his article, Mr. Bowen also discusses how to leverage technology outside of the classroom (online tests, assigning homework via email, etc.) to free up more time for interaction in the classroom. I think this article presents a great set of thoughts on appropriate use of education technology and I thoroughly appreciate many of these ideas. However, I would not suggest going so far as to completely remove the use of technology from the classroom.
I am certainly not alone in my belief that the use of Internet based technologies can enhance learning outcomes and motivate students to participate in the instructional process. Over the last 2 weeks I conducted a brief poll
here that asked, “What new Internet technologies will you be introducing in the classroom this year?” In this survey, I posed the question, ”How do you envision these technologies enhancing student engagement and improving learning outcomes?” Following is a sampling of some of the responses:
- “When students are actually creating rather than listening and taking notes, they will be engaged in the lessons and learn (remember) more which should have a positive impact on learning outcomes.”
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