Technology in education is a buzzword that has largely become a cliché, probably even before the Internet came into everyone’s lives. But technology in education is still an important issue for consideration; it’s the application of technology in education that is most challenging. It’s an important tool and central for helping students enter into the job market with relevant skills. But it is a tool that needs consideration before using.
you’ll find herein is a brief consideration of what I consider to be
the 5 Rights of Technology. This is largely adapted from the 5 Rights
of Medical Administration (6 years working in residential program
apparently left its mark). These are not perfect; given the changing
technology of the last 15 years, perfection seems impossible or maybe
just irrelevant. Instead, this works as a succinct guide for faculty to
use when contemplating how to implement technology in the class room.
1. The Right Alignment
There’s been many times I’ve come across a tool (iPads) or program
(blogging) and thought, “This would be great in the classroom.” Of
course, getting excited is a whole lot easier than actually doing it.
Indeed, there have certainly been several partial failures in my
teaching with using technology and a large part of that has to do with the idea of alignment.
considering technology for the classroom, the approach must be one that
works with your assessments, goals, and objectives. The technology
should facilitate or explicitly address one or more of these or else you
risk losing students. To be sure, we always risk losing students in a
myriad of ways, but the idea is to use the technology to engage them and
make the interactions more relevant or expedient within their lives.
If you can’t provide a means of expressing why the technology tool can
facilitate specific learning in your specific course, then you’re
probably a bit out of alignment.
any technology, you should research it a bit to see how other educators
have used it or just to get a fuller understanding of what kind of tool
it can be for the course.
2. The Right Accessibility
North Shore Community College serves particular populations and it’s
important to keep that in mind. Some schools require laptops while
other schools are providing tablets to their students. However, we
can’t expect uniformity in the technological prowess and resources of
our students (nor should we). The technology you use should be relevant
to the student’s lives and facilitate learning; not hinder it.
instance, I go back and forth about using eBooks because I recognize
this does hamper the experience of students who don’t have access to
computers at home or have internet access in the case of eBooks from
online services where downloading isn’t an option. In this instance, to
use the technology (eBook) means complicating and inhibiting learning
for some students while those that could access the technology are not
negatively impacted by the choice to shy away from the eBook (after all,
they are welcome to purchase it on their own in that version).
before swearing off any technological advances in the face of limited
resources or inability to help everyone, I highly suggest you come chat
with us at Academic Technology
to see if there is some middle ground or other option. For instance,
there has been interesting work and discussion about useful purposes for cellphones in the classroom.
But again, we can’t expect everyone to have a cellphone or be able to
freely use texting or smart-phone apps and such. But that’s where it
might be good to check in with Dave Houle in Instructional Technology
and Design to see how you could incorporate cellphones along with Clickers which could supplement the use of cellphones.