If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will recall that I’m a big fan of taking risks to make things better in our classrooms and schools. How better to show my belief in this statement than me writing about technology in our schools. It’s hard to find a more polarizing issue in the world of public education.
So, let me put it right out front — I believe in the power of technology to make a difference in student learning. Full stop.
I view technology as that tool that makes curriculum accessible to more children in more ways than if we didn’t have it available. Some examples that come to mind include:
- e-resources that can be adapted to varying reading levels making curricular content more accessible;
- reading intervention software that helps build neural pathways to strengthen the reading centers in the brain;
- math programs that provide just the right amount of practice to master basic skills before moving to the next topic
Do you ever stand up to go somewhere, walk over and then wonder why you’re there? Happens to me all the time — wait, that doesn’t sound very reassuring. It happens to me some times.
Often walking back to where I came from to trigger the thought that made me leave in the first place.
Doesn’t really leave one with a strong feeling of confidence in my abilities now, does it?
But, if you’re being honest with yourself I bet it happens to you as well.
What is it about our memory that makes some stuff ‘stick’ and other stuff appear to vanish? Looking back to my 20s I can still recall studying for university exams … reading a section of a text book … then reading it again … and again … all to no avail. That page of information just wasn’t going to stay in my head.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are slowly making their way into schools. Depending on the quality of the needed device a VR headset can be a few dollars (i.e. cardboard cutout that uses your smartphone) or a very expensive one costing hundreds of dollars per unit. AR headsets can be just as expensive.
I’m admittedly a bit cautious when new tech is touted as the next ‘best thing’ for education. Are these headsets just a gimmick with lots of fun entertainment value or are they really a way for students to actually go deeper with their learning?
Like most everything, I suppose it depends on how and why you use them.