Technology allows educators to become facilitators in the classroom.

Many schools are banning mobile devices because educators and administrators fear that they will negatively impact learning.  I feel that this type of censorship is the wrong choice.  We should be embracing technology since it can improve collaboration and engagement with content as well as provide support to students with cognitive and physical disabilities.  It has been shown that self-directed learning improves leading to authentic learning opportunities since learners are able to express themselves and their ideas more effectively (Alberta Education, Bring your own device, 2012, p. 3).

Educators are supposed to help students learn digital responsibility and citizenship. How can this occur if learners don’t have access to technology?  Schools and educators have modified how they use technology.  According to Joan Tod, instructor at Bertha Kennedy Community School, “…teachers use technology when it makes sense to use it” (Alberta Education, Emerge one-to-one Learning, Authentic Learning, July, 2012).  This practice helps to keep boundaries and it ensures that information is up to date, which further supports authentic learning.  Changes need to take place to allow for such improvements.

These changes include being flexible and open-minded towards technology so that students can reap the benefits of using it.  Teachers also need to know when to use it and learn how to modify their teaching so that technology doesn’t overtake good teaching practices and pedagogy.  When teachers use technology they become more like facilitators rather than lecturers.  This shift in roles helps to put students more in control of their learning (Crichton, Pegler & White, 2012).

When educators act more as facilitators rather than as lecturers, they become “silent” teachers.  I have been using this “silent” teacher method for almost ten years, and I have found the experience rewarding.  Currently, my BIM (Building Information Modeling) students are completing a technical English Manual as well as working on a presentation for their projects.  Our government representative observed my class this week and found students’ work to be exceptional.  Furthermore, our employment developer has had many requests from engineering firms in Calgary to interview our students for employment.  I believe that much of this success is because the teaching staff at Bredin is dedicated to allowing students to showcase their work in diverse ways.  We encourage the use of technology and allow students to use their own devices.  We also use technology appropriately so that it supports our curriculum rather than being the focal point of lessons.  Ultimately, teachers act as facilitators and provide opportunities for students to determine their project outcomes-a necessary process in adult education.

References:

Alberta Education (2012). Bring your own device: a guide for schools. Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/admin/technology/research.aspx

Alberta Education (2012). Emerge one-to-one laptop learning: Authentic Learning. Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/admin/technology/emerge-one-to-one/videos.aspx

Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(1), 23-31.http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?ur

 

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4 thoughts on “Technology allows educators to become facilitators in the classroom.

  1. ttallerico says:

    Your point about teachers being “flexible and open-minded towards technology” struck a chord with me. I have worked with teachers who believes that technology is fraught with problems and until a glitch free technology is released, these people have no intention of integrating technology into their lessons and risk having the lesson messed up. Rather they do things like provide time in the computer lab weekly. Crichton et al (2012, p. 30) recommend continuing “working with teachers…to better understand the pedagogical fit for these devices…and enhance learning”. Although these teachers have been offered this option, it has been rejected.

    I feel frustrated and wonder what to do next. As cited by Crichton et al (2012, p. 24)“Many educators (Schrum & Glassett, 2009; Biesta & Burbules, 2003) see ICT playing a pivotal role in assisting teachers in (personalization of learning), and in enabling students to demonstrate their learning in authentic, more meaningful ways.” The Alberta Education document “Bring Your Own Device: A Guide For Schools” (2012, p. 34) states “At the end of the day, personalization of learning is something that students do. The teacher’s role is to create the environment that encourages and supports such personalization.” How can this opportunity for personalization occur if the teacher will not allow technology into the classroom?

    What suggestions do you (or anyone else) have to encourage flexibility and open-mindedness towards technology?

    References:

    Alberta Education (2012). Bring your own device: a guide for schools. Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/admin/technology/research.aspx

    Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(1), 23-31. Retrieved from: http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=78234189&site=ehost-live

  2. marilyngould says:

    Trudi,

    I completely agree that if educators don’t allow technology into their classrooms then how will students learn digital citizenship and obtain personalized learning opportunities. Students who have fond memories of school have had teachers who allowed for personalized learning.

    I believe that the closed-minded attitude you refer to may never be eliminated. We can encourage more technology training in teacher training programs, we can offer teachers more professional development time for tech. training, we can highlight the positive effects technology can have on students’ and teachers’ learning, etc. We can only hope that educators will at least try to use technology in their classrooms-even in small doses.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  3. roadtripdo says:

    I agree, Marilyn, schools should embrace technology, however, there needs to be some kind of mediation, or process, that covers and protects students. Some potential problems with access and technology include pornography, cyberbullying, and adult oriented topics. Schools need to be more proactive in their approach to technology, however, in some aspects, it may be putting the cart before the horse. To encourage technology in a school setting is to ensure that no one will be affected negatively with its use. Great post!

  4. Danny Boily says:

    Hello Marilyn,

    Thanks for the great post. I agree that schools make a big mistake by banning smartphones and technologies. The initial problems that many of the staff members end up dealing with discipline and management. The technologies have become so commonplace that students use them anyway and now teachers end up with constant arguments with the students about putting them away. The 2nd (and biggest reason) is that you are now removing a tool for learning. Tablets and smartphones can assist with the learning IF teachers are able to implement them appropriately and are able to teach digital citizenship (as you mentioned in your post). We should be allowing students to use their comfort level with the devices to help them learn.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Danny

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