Monday, October 19, 2009
Wired for Thinking
We know that kids are wired for technology. We use terms like Digital Native and Net Generation to describe that technology is natural to them. You won't get any argument from me on this. But my question is, " Are we using technology to engage students for the right reasons?" I have been a big proponent of SmartBoards in our district as well as student response systems. Their potential for engaging, interactive learning is powerful. But at the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves, for what purpose are we using these tools?
If these tools simply become another way to fill students up with knowledge that they spit back out, we are not changing anything. On the other hand, if we use them to engage students in learning that gets them thinking creatively, inventively, flexibly, collaborartively, then they are powerful tools. All this technology is about much more than engaging our students. It is about what we do with them once they are engaged.
I have observed the excitement that students exhibit when they get to use technology in their classroom. I have also observed what happens when the novelty wears off if students see that nothing else has changed. They are more than wired for technology. They are wired for thinking. Their future success depends on their ability to solve problems, work collaboratively, and continue learning beyond school. Let's take advantage of their curiosity, creativity, and social nature and let them use the technology to learn how to master these skills, not just learn facts.
*Image thanks to: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/thinkingcapwhoa_color.gif