Yes and no. My goal is that my students leave my class at the end of the year knowing how to communicate, collaborate, critically think, and be creative. Of course we use technology to do that, but because I want students to learn the 4 Cs, those are what I teach to. We rarely learn how to use a tech tool for the sake of learning a tech tool. Here’s how I introduce tools without teaching them directly.
- Time to Explore
I want my students to understand learning objectives like engaging an audience in a screencast or podcast, or how visually representing information can inform, entertain, or persuade. My goal is not that they know how to use Quicktime or Piktochart, that is the byproduct. Ultimately, I want my students to use the tool that best fits their purpose. This is why I suggest tools to use and let them choose the one that works for them. Then I give them time before diving into the task to explore and play with the tool they’ve chosen, with the chance to change the tool if they determine the wrong choice was made.
- Embedded Tutorials in the Instructions
With so many YouTube tutorials out there I can direct my students to them, leaving me more time to teach and support deeper learning objectives. Students can revisit these tutorials as many times as they like and learn the tool as they complete their tasks.
- Student Created Tutorials
These tutorials come in handy when students are working on a variety of activities. When they need to know how to embed a Google Slides Presentation into a Weebly site, let’s say, they can go to the shared Weebly Tutorials Folder to see if there is a tutorial that will help them with their task. Students learn how to use aspects of the tool when they need to, in a more authentic way, increasing the likelihood they will remember how to use the tool again in the future. Students use Quicktime or Snagit to create tutorials.
- Learning Experiences Designed with Content and Pedagogy in Mind First, Not the Tech Tool
When designing learning objectives, lessons, units, etc., I first figure out my content. Then I think about the best ways to deliver and assess the content, and finally, decide if and how technology can help with the delivery and assessment. This way tech tools do not drive what we do, but enhance what we create.
After infusing technology into many K-8 subjects in the past 16 years, Trisha Sanchez is now a 7th/8th grade Technology Teacher. She is always learning with her students and peers and believes in the power of sharing. Follow her on twitter @techishtrish or learnreflectlead.blogspot.com.