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Technology Education - How Do We Integrate The Good Stuff?
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Technology Education - How Do We Integrate the Good Stuff?

When the student is ready, the teacher turns up.

Throughout our lives we have the opportunity to be both a student and a teacher. There are things we want to learn from someone who knows what we want to know. There are also opportunities to pass our own knowledge on. We teach and we learn at work, at home, from our parents, our siblings, our partners and our children. There is always something worth knowing if you are patient and there will always be someone who appreciates your advice.

An open mind, willing to listen, test ideas against current constructs and assimilate knowledge is an ideal student.

A patient guide who seeks the moment of personal discovery in a learner rather than the need for self-aggrandisement is an ideal teacher.

Put the two together and some valuable lessons will be learned. More importantly, a bond of trust will develop between the student and the teacher.

Teachers know and understand this. We all know the proverb 'catch a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime'. We know it. When it comes to technology, it isn't always easy to do it.

Teachers who are comfortable with technology may find it difficult to resist the urge to just grab the mouse and change the colour of a header, add a page to a blog or insert a title screen to a movie. It only takes a minute and we can be off to help the next student.

Why does it always come back to time? Isn't there a way of leveraging your time so you maximise the learning experiences and provide opportunities for each child to progress? How does one teacher cope with a class which, technologically, spans from the student who can't find his folder every time he wants to save something to the student who spends most of his lessons trying to hack into the teachers' folders?

I've written it before and I'll write it again. Web 2.0. This is the good stuff. Web 2.0 technologies bring together the strugglers and the sopranos, the pen nibblers and the polymaths. In cyberspace, everyone can hear you screen!

If trying to set up class groups of similar ability students won't work, use the www to create your world wide workgroups. Students can find other students of similar ability, interest and skill level. Create activities which make students move from their classrooms into multi-time zones where other students dwell. Educational web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and wikis help students get their content online and enable interaction and exchange. Ask a colleague from another school to join you in setting up an online file server or google doc space where students from different schools can collaborate on projects with students they've never met.

Sometimes the student is ready, but the teacher does realise what it is they want to learn. Educational technologies give students permission to search, find, connect and succeed. The teacher's role is changing and changing rapidly. If the teacher is prepared to give up being the centre of attention and the locus of control, they can become a guide, a knowledgeable partner on a quest that encourages active, self directed learners. That sounds pretty good to me.


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