Day 28 (of 188) tech: tools not toys
Today I had a few conversations around technology and education (a combination I have long referred to as technologization) – something I’ve been a fan of since grade 6; the first project for school that I remember doing from scratch to publication on a computer. I no longer needed to stress about neatness and editing errors was much better than starting from scratch. It was a menu and it was awesome (Computer Hut – bits & bytes were the appetizers!)
The first conversation I had was a familiar one with some of my students: tools or toys. Tech (byod) is well used by my class and the spillover is ‘noticeable’ – ranging from students wanting to listen to music outside (as long as they’re walking the field) to watching a movie during lunch (I prefer social interactions at meal times). The topic usually boils down to: tools or toys. When the technology helps enhance learning, it is a tool. When the technology distracts the learner (or other learners) it becomes a toy. Toys serve a purpose and have a role , but tools are better at learning times!
The second conversation around technology was around adults using tech in schools. Here I tend to deviate from my original mission: I’m good with ‘first-timers’ using tech as a toy – playing cribbage apps, 2048, etc as a way to “get used to the device”. I’m a little nervous when tech is not used to its capabilities:
I often hear statements about technology is not needed for learning. And I agree to a point (once upon a time there was a paper/slate debate) – and we’d have a great discussion about differentiation and how tech is a great equalizer!
I also hear ‘fears’ that technology will replace a teacher. I feel that if I could be replaced by a computer, I should; when my learners parents ask for ‘homework’ for missed days, I’m often at a loss because what we do in our classroom cannot be duplicated or replicated at home.
And when there are fears about using tech because it might not work? Since grade 2 I’ve never been allowed to stop learning because my pencil was broken, pen was out of ink, etc etc.
There is a time for tech to be used as tools and times for it to act as a toys – and it’s good to be mindful to use tech appropriately at the right times – but the best part is when the two worlds blend together and you can’t tell them apart – that is technologization!