Teacher Technologist – Bringing Tech Into Teaching

The Technologist module, created and funded by the government of Ontario, provides a useful tool for teachers to assess their implementation of technology in the classroom, so that the use of technology is done in a way that not only substitutes traditional teaching models, but enhances education. Technology can easily be used as a flashy, but needlessly complex way to achieve something that can be done just as easily with paper and a pencil (LOOKING AT YOU EVERY SINGLE MIND MAP SOFTWARE ONLINE), but this module is designed to be one part of an educator’s developing digital literacy. The use of technology can be both a boon and a burden to classroom environments. I am not shy to say that I feel that some of the tools utilized in this class have not been anywhere near as productive as writing out my thoughts on paper or in Word. To better express my thoughts, I’ve made a Twitter essay that should help clarify some of my thoughts.

Technologist uses the “Design-Thinking” Approach for testing and implementing technology in the classroom. The core of “Design-Thinking” is the human element. This means that the designer should involve learners in finding solutions to known issues or challenges, in a collaborative way. Teachers should not be fearful to experiment, but at the same time, should have students be involved in the creation of new tools, and have students facilitate the creation of new tools and ideas. The key steps are “Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Connect”. Empathize relates to the desires and needs of their learners, and what challenge that can be overcome with purposeful use of technology in the classroom. Define has the educator identify and select a challenge or issue that can be addressed with proper use of tech. Ideate is to both formulate and build the ideal features and concepts for how tech can be used to work with the challenge you identified. A mind map can help with this. After getting the idea, you must choose a technology you think would best be suited for this. The “SECTIONS” model can be useful for this, as it provides a framework for useful decision-making. Once you decided on a technology, you must prototype. Prototyping has three components – Design, Share, Refine. Design is creating or mapping out a lesson or strategy for your newfound technology. Sharing is exposing your design to learners or peers, and obtaining feedback from them. Lastly, refine involves taking responses and solving any potential challenges or issues that arose while they practiced. The last step of the “Design-Thinking” Approach is Connect. One must connect the technology into the curriculum. Implementation of tech should help reach or facilitate learning goals. If you can’t justify this, then perhaps it’s not conductive for student learning.

The module is an interesting framework for implementing technology in the classroom. It provides a good template for experimenting with different tools and technologies, and a way to see if it’s truly valuable for the classroom. Ironically, I’d argue that the multimedia platform I used for this is utterly ineffective for most classroom environments, while others (like the above-mentioned Mindmap programs) are actually more time consuming and frustrating than just utilizing tried and true paper. Not all technology is created equal, and technology should benefit learning, not just provide needless complication or frustration for learners.


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