Reading the discussions and examples of tools for students, it becomes apparent that there is a lot to consider when we bring technology into the classroom. One important consideration is how the technology acts as a tool in the classroom. Is this shiny new tool grounded in good pedagogy? Does it enhance the curriculum? Is the technology picked first, and then the lesson is adapted to fit the technology? What level is the technology supporting of the students’ learning on the SAMR model? Will it enhance their learning or transform it? There is a lot of debate around how best to use technology in a meaningful way. My own limited experience with technology use in the classroom means I do not have a definitive opinion on this yet, but I appreciate the dialogue around these issues.
When I think of differentiating curriculum, whether with or without technology, I am reminded of the importance that the tools used work for the individual student. I am interested to read more about how teachers differentiate the technology they use to best support the learning of each child in their class. As with any instructional tools, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer.
Recently, I had a teaching moment that reminded me of this. At the end of a parent education session with my adult students, I passed around a spiral notebook for the students to write their comments or further questions about the topic so I could follow up with them. One of the students paused when he received the notebook, then flipped it upside down and began writing. He explained that he was left handed so it hurt his hand to write in a spiral notebook the traditional way (with the binding on the left). Something as low-tech and simple as a notebook, did not work for every student. He literally had to turn it upside down to make it work for him. It will be interesting to see how technology needs to be flipped or turned to work for each learner.
2 thoughts on “Finding the Right Tools”
That is such a great example of some basic things in education simply not working for some learners — and this parent had the capacity to understand and articulate where the barriers were.
Can young children audio record their narration of an image a caring adult took of the drawing they just did? Can children with developmental fine motor challenges use a drawing app on a screen so that their capacity to hold a crayon doesn’t limit their expression? Can a child who has pretty advanced sequencing skills order their drawings in a simple app to construct a story across individual images? Might these be some examples of differentiation around language development?
I hit post just as I was forming another thought. I don’t think that there is evidence that paper is the default best tool and other tools have to then be justified. Those are the sorts of questions we’re just beginning to consider as these very new tools have become available.
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