This New York Times article discusses student attention spans, and teachers’ thoughts on how technology is affecting students. It begins with a woesome tale of student disengagement, vast amounts of screen viewing time, and lower quality student work. Then the “Big D,” Distraction. However, not every insight on technology from the teacher survey was negative. Research, math and reading skills were said to improve. The article goes on to say that labeling students as “distracted” is judgmental towards the generation.
I, like some of the teachers quoted in the article, still have optimism for students and teachers. Since our learners are plugged into technology to such a high extent, our teaching and connecting with these students will need to change, and likely revolve more and more around technology. Compared with you or I, these students are total technology geeks who should be teaching us. For me this means that I need to learn more about technology so that I can teach with technology, and teach students how to use it responsibly.
George Couros took a closer look about what it means to learn with technology vs. learn about technology. It reminds me of the subtle, but significant difference between “assessment for learning” and “assessment of learning.”
Using technology to engage and teach our children is inevitable, however, there are words of caution. Kathy Cassidy , who teaches primary students imparts, “Technology should not be used to do what can be done without it.” This makes sense, however, since our tweens and teens are so into their phones and iPads, maybe we need technology to get through to them, to meet them on their level.
I was inspired by a teacher connecting with her students via Google Forms while reading George Couros’s blog. How very encouraging! Once the connection was made on a personal level, via technology, this teacher was able to better connect with the students face to face.
More teaching and learning tools from Google can be found at http://www.google.com/edu/.