If you are in the educational technology field, you have probably heard about the “SAMR Model” and “TPACK” as ways to implement technology in powerful ways in our classrooms. Many of these models (and others) say something similar; how are we using technology in ways that we couldn’t do before? For example, should we use technology to write notes (which we could do with a pen) or are we going to use something like blogs so that students can connect with the world? Technology is transformational and the opportunities that exist today in schools are pretty amazing and these “models” encourage teachers to take advantage of that. This is a good thing.
So when we talk about things like “differentiation” and “inclusion”, how does this apply? Well if we are expecting all students to do the same “transformative” thing, it feels like we are still expecting all kids to do the same thing.
Maybe instead of asking, “what does the technology allow us to do now, that we couldn’t do before”, maybe we should ask, “what does the technology allow the student to do now that they couldn’t do before”? The ability to write notes on a document might not be transformative to all of us, but to the student who does not have the same ability to write using a piece of paper that others might have, this (what many would consider simple) use of technology may be transformative to that student. In our race to put everything in education into a neat acronym, we often give standardized solutions for individual people.
Perhaps we should step back and see that what technology provides is often the ability for a teacher to help make learning very personal for our kids and create opportunities that didn’t exist before (for them). Every standardized solution often seems to reduce our kids to a name on a piece of paper or simply a number, when they deserve so much more than that.
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