Over the weekend, I presented brief (45 minute) sessions about Web 2.0. Now, any of you who are immersed in the Web 2.0 world as I am know that there is no way I can even scratch the vast number of Web 2.0 applications that are out there. I did manage to compress my sessions into 45 minutes (I presented it three times, which made me begin to feel sure I was saying the same things to the same people). You can see the presentation PowerPoint and the websites I covered at the Texas DEN Wiki. I focused my presentation on using Discovery streaming with Web 2.0 applications.
As usually happens to me when I’m presenting, I hear myself saying things I hadn’t planned to say but which actually teach ME something. That is what has led to this blog post.
What I said was this, “Things that seem cool to you are not necessarily cool to your students – chances are they’ve already seen it.”
One of the things I hate the most is when I hear or see teachers using technology in their classroom for the sake of using technology in their classroom (you can read my NECC post where I came up with and presented my RICE acronym). I believe that using technology as “fluff” can be far more damaging than not using technology at all. That said, teachers must really look at the technology, say “is this the best way to deliver this instruction?” and know what they are doing. Sometimes that means that a tech tool good for use at the beginning of the school year may lose its relevance later in the school year when content and mastery have (hopefully) reached a new level.
My bolded comment above simply means that we have to realize that when we go to professional development or technology conferences and we discover some new, really cool technology tool to use, what seems really cool to us is something your students have probably already experienced in some form. Your students have grown up with cool technology tools in the palm of their hands . . . literally. They want to see relevance in what they are doing and can spot a “babysitting” task before you finish giving them instructions.
You deserve to have a classroom that utilizes a good balance of interaction with your students and the use of technology. Your students deserve to learn in an environment that stretches their potential and gives them opportunities to discover new things. Don’t bog them down with bells and whistles.