The EdTech Coach Podcast

Monday, April 2, 2018

Technology Alone Won’t Help Your Students

A teacher recently told me that he has both a class set of iPads and a class set of Chromebooks in his classroom.  He went on to say that he has trouble deciding which to use on a daily basis.  This got me thinking.  It should never come down to trying to decide what technology to use, but it should come down to the learning objective or target.  

So I told them that although it’s great to be surrounded by technology, it doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have a learning objective. If you don't have a learning objective, technology won't help you.  You don't determine the technology, the learning objective does the choosing for you.

The iPad or Chromebook is not the end all be all of education.  Technology is just a tool after all. If you don't use your tech with a purpose, those iPads might as well just be sitting in the corner of your room.  Your objective determines the tool that you will use. 

Those Chromebooks and iPads the teacher referenced are just tools. They are a means to an end. You don’t use technology for the sake of using technology, you have to know where you’re going first. Your objective must be clear and concise, then determine which tool you will use. 

If you know me or read any of my other pieces, you’ll know I love technology!  Walking into a classroom that’s equipped with iPads, Chromebooks, or even Windows laptops makes me think about the possibilities of the extent of learning that can happen in the classroom. But at the same time, I know those iPads are just a means to an end. Making the technology effective begins with the days' target. 

If you want the students to write a short essay, perhaps using a Chromebook with its keyboard might be a better choice.  If you want to shoot and edit video, the iPad might be the tech of choice.  Now I know that not all teachers are lucky enough to have both iPads and Chromebooks, but the point is, you shouldn't use whatever tech you have just for the sake of using it.

A coherent and clear objective begins with SWBAT.  Objectives should begin with the words “Students will be able to...”.   At the end of your lesson, what will your students be able to do?  Then, once you've determined that, ask yourself which tech tool is a better choice.  Or, in most cases, it's not which hardware will work best, but which app suits the assignment.

Again, if you don't have a clear objective, technology won't help your students.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this piece and have always said that technology is truly a means to an end. At present I am enrolled in an I.T.C professional development and after each meeting I left feeling bombarded by technology. I have always believed that it would be far more effective to show teachers how we might incorporate technology in our classroom rather than showing a myriad of tools that we are still unsure how to use these tools to enhance students’ learning.