One of my classmates was recently demonstrating how to use “Poll Everywhere” with smartphones to assess student learning. Amidst the Blackberrys, Androids and iPhones my Motorola Razr was greeted with chortles of derision. Through mortification I was liberated into 21st Century Teaching and Learning: my phone is smart enough.
Productive discussion of phone use for classroom learning is frequently sabotaged through baneful counterpoint: “but not every child has a phone!” or “what if a student sharing a phone damages the phone?” This reactionary refrain serves the technologists’ endgame – getting more smartphones into the hands of children (Nielsen) – rather than the educationists’ – getting more learning into the hands of children – by presenting technological equity as a straw man on the path to student learning. I say burn him down.
Consider the following dystopic implementation of 21st Century Teaching and Learning (21CTL): students tracing letters with a stylus over an iPad screen. We are instructed to teach students for their future, not our past, so how is the scenario above different from tracing chalk over a slate tablet in the 19th Century classroom? I rest my case.
Technology in schools is a vital driver of 21CTL; however, it is a driver, not the vehicle. The development and implementation of sound pedagogy is the vehicle for 21CTL. If technology is to genuinely revolutionize classroom learning then pedagogues had better hurry up and get in the game before the technologists have sealed the outcome.
The next serial will focus on the development of 21CTL pedagogy.
Lisa Nielsen. “Finally! Research-based proof that students use cell phones for LEARNING.” Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator, 16 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.
© K.C. Hoffman and learnersinadangeroustime.wordpress.com, 2013.