The overall benefits of using technology in the classroom are so undisputed that we often don’t consider whether we’re using it in the most balanced and evidence-based way.
In “Learning First, Technology Second,” ELT Instructor Patricia Siano, a Corinth Central Teachers Association member, examines how the pandemic changed the way we use technology for education, and explains why, in the aftermath of the shutdown, we must use technology more intelligently and deliberately.
“As we move forward to a new normal, our goal as educators is to take what we learned and create a technology-rich, but balanced, learning environment,” said Siano. “How can we balance purposeful integration of technology with irreplaceable in-person learning?”
Educators do not want to lose the gains they made using technology and bringing education into the 21st century, she said, but they also do not want to neglect the soft skills, the need to collaborate, to communicate effectively and to problem-solve. “In order to achieve the high level of cognitive engagement that we seek, we need to blend hands-on learning with effective use of technology,” said Siano.
Siano recommends using the latest research and the Triple E Framework (Engage, Enhance, Extend) to guide the implementation of innovative technology. The framework is a four-step process that requires educators to define learning goals, select the appropriate technology tool, engage students with the tool to promote active and social learning, and then connect the students with real world tasks and contexts.
Here are Siano’s other tips for smart technology use:
Do not let technology be a distraction or a barrier to learning.
Include think-pair-share, reflection, progress-monitoring and other successful classroom practices along with technology to ensure that learning continues to be collaborative and social.
Choose technology tools that will help them to soar and continue their learning beyond the classroom.
ELT coursework is offered year-round and can be used for undergraduate, graduate and in-service credit as well as to fulfill Continuing Teacher and Leader Education requirements. For more information, go to elt.nysut.org.