I had an interaction with a parent today which was simultaneously sad, eye opening, and challenging.
Essentially, the parent said they wanted an interactive white board (IWB) and an audience response / electronic response system in their child’s classroom, so their child and peers would be more engaged in learning and enjoy their time in the classroom more. The parent explained, “Kids are into technology.”
While it certainly is true “kids are into technology” today, it is a fallacy that providing these technologies to teachers in the classroom will automatically result in better learning experiences for students. This is well supported by educational research, and is something I likely say frequently in presentations, but it still seems to be a common perception among parents. I suppose this perception accounts for the high levels of spending we see in our schools today for IWBs and clicker systems.
I would much rather be in a classroom or have my own children in a classroom in which the teacher knows how to facilitate lessons where students are ACTIVE rather than PASSIVE, being challenged to think DEEPLY and CRITICALLY about ideas and issues rather than being simply expected to consume information– even if it is in multimedia formats. Perhaps SMU Dean Jose Bowen has it right: We should challenge teachers to “teach naked.” Content delivery has more powerful possibilities today than ever before, so our face to face learning opportunities in schools should be richer with more interaction than ever. Sadly, that is frequently not the case.
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