I was a student during the 1980s. During that time computers were beginning to emerge into schools. I vividly remember my excitement as a student when my class went to visit the computer lab for our weekly (1 hour) timeslot. We did exciting things like type up a story or play a game. (At the time this was a new experience and single colour games such as ‘Racer’ and ‘Snake’ were the epitome of digital entertainment.) As one of the ‘naughty kids’ I often was left to observe my peers using the computers whilst I was required to write my story using traditional materials of paper and pencil.
Fast forward to 2014 and we continue to see teachers taking their classes to the computer room for a regular, hourly time slot. More often than not, students spend their time typing up a story or playing games with no apparent links to the curriculum. Furthermore, ‘naughty’ students continue to be excluded from using technology. Face the reality – your students are bored and that is probably the main reason behind the ‘behaviour issues’ that are happening in your classrooms. We are stagnating as a profession despite the best attempts by many great educators around the world. Governments talk about closing the gap with our students yet the gap is widening among the educators that are facilitating the educational process.
Email and Facebook are becoming ‘old technology’ among our students whilst teachers continue to see and use technology as a reward or privilege. Get with the program ladies and gentlemen! Your students are bored by your practices. They want and expect to use various, modern technologies as a tool for learning. Students want technology to be a part of their schooling.
Stop being scared of technology. You have a responsibility toward your students to use the best tools available to support their learning. It’s ok if your students know more than you do. Celebrate that fact but don’t block the use of amazing resources because you can’t be bothered to learn something new. Give your students the opportunity to try new ways of engaging with, and sharing their learning – they just might surprise you.