It seems paradoxical, but the most boring classrooms tend to be the ones that are full of technology – and little else. The worst ones I’ve been into are those in which 30 or more computers are crammed into rows, allowing no room for note-taking, let alone collaboration. But even the ones with wall-to-wall interactive display screens, visualisers, graphic tablets etc etc are often, to be frank, Tedium City. How come?
Here’s a great idea, which I am humbly proud (is that an oxymoron, or merely an unfortunate juxtaposition?) to say was inspired by my series 31 Days to Become a Better Ed Tech Leader. Written by Michael, the CEO of Simple K12, the article entitled “Are You REALLY an EdTech Leader in Your School/District/State/Country?” makes a simple but powerful suggestion: create a (paper-based) course called “31 Days to Using Technology in Your Classroom.”. Michael explains:
The entire course will be 31 pages long (okay, maybe 32 if you want a cover sheet), with each page devoted to a specific technology tool and how it can be used in the core curriculum (language arts, science, math, and social studies) courses.
Michael suggests getting different teachers to contribute a page each. That’s what I think makes this such a great idea. Most teachers will be able and happy to write a sentence or two about how you can use such and such a program in your subject. Everyone loves to share what they just found out.
The ICT Co-ordinator of a primary (elementary) school I visited once had come up with an effective solution for creating a trouble-shooting guide to the school’s computer network. She placed a ring-binder containing a whole load of blank templates (containing headings like “Program”, “Problem”, “Solution”, and invited everyone to fill in one of the sheets when they came up against a problem and subsequently found a way of solving it. The rate at which she was grabbed in the corridor to sort out some technical issue or other went from several a day to just one or two a week.
These kind of approaches work because they’re based on the observation that “many hands make light work”, which is why wikis are such a useful tool when it comes to planning in educational technology (or any other field). (See my review of Wikified Schools, by Stephanie Sandifer, to find out more about a brilliant book on this subject.
And do try out Michael’s idea and share the results with the rest of us