There are many paradoxes in working life. If you are a driven person and find a lot of meaning in your work (as most educators do) you may well find yourself looking for ways to get incrementally better at your profession after a few decades on the job. That is certainly true for me. As a long-time, and still very amateur, meditator, I found Ed Halliwell’s description of the basic paradox of mindfulness in the workplace to be captured perfectly. My thanks to Darrow’s Director of Finance, Melissa Gardner, for the pointer on this.
There are few conversations in education today that don’t touch on technology—pedagogy, curriculum, access, and outcomes all rely on, or are influenced by, technology. That said, we humans are like raccoons and easily attracted to shiny objects. The best schools never put the technology in front of the human side of education, though there are pressures from all sides to do so in order to save costs, scale up, and just build buzz. This post from ideas.TED.com serves as a comprehensive cautionary note about what technology can and can’t do related to good teaching.
8 ways to think about tech in ways that actually improve the classroom.
Bringing technology into the classroom often winds up an awkward mash-up between the laws of Murphy and Moore: What can go wrong, will — only faster.
It’s a multi-headed challenge: Teachers need to connect with classrooms filled with distinct individuals. We all want learning to be intrinsically motivated and mindful, yet we want kids to test well and respond to bribes (er, extrinsic rewards). Meanwhile, there’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, in the US alone, hoping to sell apps and tech tools to school boards.
There’s no app for that.
But there are touchstones for bringing technology into the classroom. With educational goals as the starting point, not an afterthought, teachers can help students use — and then transcend — technology as they learn.
Starting in pre-kindergarten, children at Love T. Nolan Elementary School in College Park, Georgia, have access to an iPad to reinforce techniques taught in the classroom. Photo by Amanda…
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