Day 3: The Dangers of “Over-Tech”ing… Hands-On! Make it Personal!

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Rather than an app showcase today, I want to knock out a crucial danger of the tech integrated classroom and hammer out how effective integration not only reinforces learning, but makes the hands on learning and the paper/pencil tasks more invested in and appreciated among students. My cooperating teacher, Travis Angell, and I spoke very early on in my experience about an essential “flip” happening as a result of this technology, and it is this: The investment and excitement students my age showed in school on days when we got to use technology is now being reflected by this new generation of students when they are doing projects without it. This technology integration has strengthened the influence of hands on learning.

Article: EdWeek’s Insight into Hands-On Learning

As EdWeek has noted, there are certainly schools that are “on to this,” like the progressive Khan Academy. There is undoubted value on interpersonal conversation, discovery based learning, and hands on experience, that not only solidify the learning, but strengthen the impact of technology integration as well.

Video: Khan Academy’s Discovery Lab Offers Hands-On Learning

The change in this paradigm I’m noticing in my day to day interactions with students is the excitement and investment in what was commonplace when I was in school…like paper and pencil testing!

20130107-092933.jpgMr. Angell has done a nice job, in my opinion, of avoiding the inevitable danger of what I call “Over-Tech”ing, in which the classroom becomes so saturated with technology that the tool is not an element of the classroom, but the focus. There is, has always been, and always will be a crucial interpersonal element to every classroom that technology cannot replace. There is value in sitting down with a table full of students who feel then “didn’t quite get proportions the first time” to help review and reteach. This is an invaluable realization to avoid the inevitable letdown associated with a technology saturated and unfocused classroom.

20130107-093929.jpgSo, what is today’s blog about? Really, it’s about one of my biggest passions in the classroom and that is relationships with students. Do I love technology and the exciting and innovative future of our schools? Absolutely. Yet, there is so much more to teaching than simply being on the cutting edge and finishing content and standards… There is a call to send out better people from your classroom. A great start in this direction is a view of caution when eliminating the interpersonal element and replacing it with technology. The best, most effective, and life changing classroom experiences for students are those that realize and find the “money-zone.” …That place where students feel safe, comfortable, and utilize technology and the newest tools, yet have relationships with teachers and peers that make their learning something that doesn’t simply show up in a chart of standards, but an experience that better prepares them to confidently tackle that next and ever-changing step.

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