I love technology because it allows us to teach better, to reach learners in ways we couldn’t reach them without it. As we at BHS continue to access new tools, the challenge is to envision how best to use those tools. We must step back and examine how we’re teaching students in our classrooms, asking ourselves if what we’ve done in the past is necessarily the best route to continue:
- How are we using our class time?
- What are we having students do for homework?
Traditionally, we’ve delivered new content or explained new skills in class–via lecture and hand-outs–and had students read the same content or practice those skills outside of class as homework. Is this the most effective practice? What if we could deliver new content or demonstrate new skills outside of class–via videos, podcasts, blog posts–and use class time to work with students–modeling, coaching, offering one-on-one help–as they practice new skills or apply new content knowledge?
Karl Fisch shares a story of one chemistry teacher, Brian Hatak at his school that’s overhauled his class by assigning lectures (kids view 5-15 minute podcasts outside of class as homework) and using class time to work with students.
This option wasn’t available without the digital tools we now have available to us. I’m reminded of the words from Spiderman:
With great power comes great responsibility.
We all need to step back and take a hard look at how we’re using our class time and what we’re having students do outside of class. Given the new technologies we have access to now, are we making the best choices that allow us to maximize our ability to reach students?
What about kids who don’t have access to the Internet at home? What ideas do you have for helping these students?