We talk a lot in education about the use of technology and giving us the ability to do things that we couldn’t do before. This “transformative” use of technology is something that many school division aspire to and focus on. They use things such as the SAMR model or Bernajean Porter’s focus on “Literate, Adaptive, and Transformative”, when measuring their use of technology, but what about the “basic” uses of technology?
For example, as I am sitting at a dinner table with people I don’t know, in a culture that is foreign to me, talking about education, I heard many great insights on the future of learning and the possibilities that are out there for our system. As I watched others write notes on pen and paper (which is accepted as normal by the majority of educators), I struggled with pulling my phone out of my pocket and writing in a way that I felt comfortable with, as I did not want to seem out of place in this new environment. When I brought it up, I was encouraged to use my phone because that is what worked best for me. How many times do we lose out when a kid is not allowed to use their device, not because they don’t want to write “notes”, but because they don’t feel comfortable writing them in a way that makes sense and is easy for them?
What I was doing with this technology was very basic and it was something old done with the new. I wasn’t creating videos, reaching out across the world, but simply writing notes. Nothing transformative at all. Kids need this option as well. All kids. All learners.
So I guess if we look at what technology can give us now that we couldn’t have before, I would say for some people, it gives them the opportunity to finally learn in a way that works for them, whether it is very basic, or very advanced. We all need options and if we are to truly empower our learners, we have to ensure we help them figure out what works for them, not us.
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