Are We Leveraging Technologies To Maximize Learning Outcomes?
After reading materials for this course and attending TCEA Area 10 and 11 conference this week, I am convinced now more than ever that it is necessary to reevaluate the role of technology to facilitate appropriate instructional delivery. The strong and positive teacher/student relationship is still the most important contributor to learning. Lateral learning technologies often lack meaningful experiences, but do serve as a means to replace weak teacher. Technologies may transfer information, but often the transfer of information does not equate to an improved learning experience.
Students in tomorrow’s world must become problem solvers, critical thinkers, and global contributors. In a world that is full of information, our schools need teachers who understand how to leverage technologies to increase communication and conversation on meaningful core subject content and its relevance to “real world” problems. Possible solutions and problem solving parameters should be debated and alternative formal evaluation techniques should be implemented. Learning technologies can be utilized to measure alternative formal assessment under the guidelines of NCLB, but states continue to utilize a standardized approach.
With the availability of Project Share in Texas, instructors in this area have an opportunity to utilize student portfolios and provide an alternative formal assessment to show yearly progress over time. How could we facilitate this approach? With the recent debate in the state of Texas surrounding STAAR, Texas’s new formal standardized testing system, it might be time to ask how Texas could leverage its technology resources to show adequate yearly progress for grades 3-12 using learning technologies available within Project Share. The portfolio piece may be a way to provide meaningful contributions to formal assessments.
TCEA Area 10 and 11 conference started with Carl Hooker challenging the audience to give students a voice and choice. Carl also proposed for instructional leaders to consider the physical environment and shared how Google uses physical space to engage employees, which improves productivity. How can we recreate our physical classroom and building space so that the environment is engaging and fun? How can we give students a museum experience? Why is this important?
Communication channels are everything. Consider how your environment and communications have changed. How do we create an environment to promote curiosity? Audiences for communication have changed due to technology improvements. In fact, Texas is very lucky to have a systemized state communication channel connecting all districts through Project Share.
My largest take away from Carl’s keynote was the very moving video created by his students. Carl’s example of giving students a voice and choice was very moving and educators need to focus more on how students are allowed to communicate. Texas should leverage its resources to allow for more collaboration amongst students across Texas, the nation, and the planet.