Technology Enabled Pedagogy Improvement (pt 1)

I’m tired of hearing the term “21st Century Skills.” To me, it’s just an other buzz-phrase that you can throw around in an interview to make yourself sound current. Another way of saying, at best, this student has used a computer in our school. I’m an English teacher; sexton of the hallowed volumes of Hawthorne, Crane, Cather and Fitzgerald (among many, many others.) I don’t just read books – I devour their words and inscribe their pages in an ongoing discourse with the often-dead author.

I bring that dialogue to students, driving them crazy with my refusal to answer their questions with more than a “what do you think?”

And in such a classroom – one based on reading, thinking, and speaking – what role could the cold, passionless presence of technology play? There are lots of powerful ways to improve our teaching; specifically by enabling authentic learning and assessment, learner centered experiences and utilizing communities of practice. These three things can help engage our learners in experiences that transcend their classroom environment and engage in rich experiences through which they will build their own knowledge instead of just parroting ours.

Over the next week, as I solidify the content for a regional conference presentation on just this, I’ll post my thoughts about these three areas and how tech in our classrooms can help our learners’ experiences break out of those confines.

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