In our 21clc training this week, I tried to stress that technology integration is not about digital tools–not really. It’s about teaching students to be critical and creative thinkers, about teaching students to communicate, collaborate, and create, about teaching students to research–find sources, evaluate sources, synthesize and organize information, document sources, about teaching students to be lifelong learners able to discern what tools work best for a particular task. Yes–they need to use digital tools as they grow in all these areas. But, when we are successful, the tools will become transparent. Just as–without stopping to think that we are using technology–we flip open our cell phone to make a call or snap a photo, turn on our computer and check our e-mail, open Word to word process a document, just as we use these digital tools to complete our daily task–without thinking about it–we should be allowing students to use digital tools to complete daily learning tasks.
As Jeff Utecht points out in his recent post, it’s not easy for us non-Millenials, and we often have to push ourselves to focus on the learning, not on the tools:
…But that is actually just content right? Excel is going to change, creating graphs are going to change. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad she knows how to create a graph, but the larger picture here is that she learned how to learn. When Excel changes, when created a graph changes she will be able to learn to do it again. She knows, or is learning, how to learn…
Change is a marathon, not a sprint. At BHS, my school, we’ve only just begun, but I’m thrilled the gun has fired and we’ve set off. Though the finish line–if such a line exists in reality–is far away, we’re taking steps to move our school into the 21st century.