‘The Girl and the Robot’ – Röyksopp (Chateau Marmont Remix)

Are you in love with a robot? Don’t be that girl (or that guy).

It’s the first year of 1-to-1 technology (or “personalized learning”) for many in my state. It’s easy to think one of two things: 1.) “Tech is taking over–no one appreciates good teacher teaching anymore,” or 2.) “Yay, I can put my kids on their devices and my life is so much easier now.” Neither of these are correct. As educators, we are STILL the number one catalyst for student learning and engagement. Our thoughtful expertise allows us to dictate how students use their devices. We know when tech use is beneficial and when it’s not. If the devices are stashed in a cart during a lesson, that’s okay. If the devices never see the light of day, that’s not okay. Consider these thoughts when using tech in your class this year.

  1. What is the standard and learning target you are trying to get your students to achieve? If this isn’t considered first, forget the rest.
  2. How will you know that your students have mastered the information? Is there a specific outcome you’d like for your students to reach in terms of assessing their understanding? Is this a a formative assessment? Quiz? Test? Essay? Project?
  3. Consider the SAMR model. Will tech use serve as substitution, augmentation, modification, or redefinition of the task you are placing before your students? The further away from substitution you inch, the more you are transforming learning for your students.
  4. What technology will you use? Out of the myriad of apps, programs, and tools that are available, which one(s) will help you achieve the most purposeful and meaningful learning experience for your students? If there’s not one that is purposeful and meaningful, leave the devices out of it.
  5. At the end of the learning, how will the use of tech have served in accomplishing your goal? Have students achieved learning in a way that has effectively been impacted by the use of tech? What larger understanding have they achieved through the use of technology? How have they been able to impart their knowledge and understanding to individuals other than you, the teacher.
  6. REFLECT. Good use of tech or not? What will you do differently to achieve greater results?

It’s totally possible to have healthy cohabitation of your robot and your skills. Understanding technology as a tool will keep you focused on student learning and help control the wanton affections that can surface with the presence of class sets of shiny new devices.