The findings show that many young students are far from being the epitomic global, connected, socially-networked technologically-fluent digital native who has little patience for passive and linear forms of learning. While the use of technologies is limited in terms of the range and the nature, there is some evidence that younger students use some tools more actively than the older students, but neither of these two groups uses these technologies to support their learning effectively. (Margaryan & Littlejohn, 2008)What does it mean to “use technology to support your learning?” For one thing, it means that simply using technology to replicate passive pre-digital tasks like note-taking, reading, watching videos, or making calls is not an end in itself. The true power of technology is to help us to engage in critical thinking tasks that would be otherwise impossible without tech. Paradoxically, there is evidence that technology is actually inhibiting our ability to critically analyze information. We need to start separating all the dazzling activities we can do with our computers and smart devices into two main categories– “passive” and “active.” Active tasks are ones that map directly to one or more Bloom’s taxonomy verbs for critical thinking or that lead to active meaning-making. Sure, your kid can shoot some video on their smartphone and add music– that’s great– but they can do that task entirely without analyzing, synthesizing, or even understanding the meanings of the texts they’re working with. A central idea in project-based learning is that the work artifacts students produce need to show evidence of student learning. Whatever external form student work takes (video, presentation, hand-coded video game), it also needs to clearly show that students have successfully mastered the learning content you are trying to teach. Active tasks also let students engage in deeper and richer learning interactions than would otherwise be possible, such as iterating an idea through multiple revisions with a peer group and instructor, or getting targeted feedback from a remote expert. Using a Google Doc is not an end in itself, but it can help students verify each other’s answers, ask questions of a text, or build a design with outside collaborators. In all these cases, the tech plays a supporting role, but the learning task itself is what’s really transformational. By contrast, passive tasks are all the other techie activities that seem to get so much attention without actually impacting learning. Young people, by virtue of their age, will be always immersed in whichever new set of tools are trending among their peers. Often, they don’t even use the full functionality of any of the tools in their repertoire– think of all the features packed in MS Word that you don’t know how to use. They don’t know them either. They might bring an iPad to class instead of a laptop, but their internet research skills are no better for it.
See the Meaning-Making through the TechIn short, don’t let yourself get dazzled by the surface differences in the ways you and your students work. Instead, be on the lookout for evidence of active meaning-making and critical thinking. Learn to see through the technology to the ways your students are seeing and thinking about the world, then work with them to develop that process of understanding.
Ken Ruan: Is the Eraser Mightier than the Delete Button? Regarding Paperless Classrooms how to make the world comprehensible to kids Reading insecurity: The crippling fear that the digital age has left you unable to read deeply and thoughtfully. The Newsonomics of the Millennial Moment The new digital workplace: How enterprises are preparing for the future of work Beyond Student-Teacher Ratios: How Breakthrough Schools Invest in Human Capital Why Students Don’t Complete MOOCs
Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more.