It has been 19 years since I stepped foot in a first classroom as a teacher. In this amount of time, I have witnessed a monumental shift in several aspects of classroom life. One aspect is that of educational technology. I remember that my first classroom had one computer in it for use by 23 students and I felt lucky to have it! Now, each student brings a school-provided laptop to class with them each day in addition to the 8 PCs in the class that run various equipment. This has increased the potential of productivity in the classroom by leaps and bounds.
Along the journey to obtaining all of this technology, I have also witnessed an alarming trend of what I perceive as a decrease in student commitment to a process. Don't misinterpret what I am saying. There are exceptionally motivated students that I see daily. I am simply saying it seems as though I see fewer of these students and more students who would prefer to allow technology to produce their results for them. Could an increase in technology be contributing to a decrease in commitment to a process?
I am an outspoken advocate of educational technology. I love tools that can enhance social skills such as collaboration and communication. I seek educational technology that allows for creative display, the pursuit of information that satisfies curiosity, and any tool that has the potential of enhancing courage and compassion of students. As a result of what I perceive as a lack of proper training for educators, educational technology has been looked upon as a means to quickly produce and not a means to enhance the process.
When we look at educational technology through a lens of process instead of product, students begin to commit more to the journey. Students should utilized technology to assist in gaining information that assists in meeting a challenge. Educational technology should enhance the collaboration of brainstorming potential solutions. Technology should be utilized to increase the ability to analyze and make better decisions for critical thinking. The choice of how to creatively communicate the process and product to a wide audience is possible because of educational technology.
How are you using technology in your classroom? Is it being used to produce a product? Or is it being used to enhance the process and bring about a more creative, effective product? We have a wonderful opportunity at our fingertips. Let's help our students be better problem solvers and more critical thinkers by utilizing educational technology as a "Process Tool".