This is the second article in a series discussing the journey towards a paperless classroom.
Now that we are in the right frame of mind to start the journey towards becoming more paperless (see previous article), it is important to make sure that we have the right tools in our bag for the tasks that lay ahead.
What does an engaged classroom use for technology?
Tools that are frequently mentioned are laptops, wireless tablets, pulse pens, netbooks, interactive whiteboards and similar high-tech tools. I think that the single most important tool in our teaching toolkit is the creative minds of our students. Without our students taking an idea and running with it, the technology tools are pieces of machinery. The most innovative uses of technology involve uses for which the technology was not originally intended, and it is often our students who find that alternative use.
As educators, we must find ways to create valuable lessons that engage the creative minds of our students. It is entirely possible to have a really well-built high-functioning piece of technology equipment that still serves the same purpose as a piece of paper and a pencil, and students are able to spot a pointless lesson from the moment it is proposed.
When your student discovers a new way of looking at a lesson or a new use for a piece of technology, give them room to get out of the box.